The Post-Subcultures Reader
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Once it was just Mods and Rockers or Hippies and Skinheads. Now we have Riot Grrls and Rappers; Modern Primitives and Metalheads; Goths, Clubcultures and Fetishists; Urban Tribes, New Age Travellers and Internet fan groups. In a global society with a rapid proliferation of images, fashions and lifestyles, it is -unsurprisingly - becoming increasingly difficult to pinpoint what 'subculture actually means. Enthusiastically adopted by the media and academia, subculture may be a convenient way to describe more unconventional aspects of youth culture, but it does little to help us comprehend the diverse range of youth groups in todays so-called postmodern world. How can we begin to rethink, reformulate and replace outdated notions of subcultures to make them applicable to the experiences of youth in the twenty-first century? And to what extent does this involve the challenging of past orthodoxies about spectacular subcultural styles? From Seattle anarchist punks to Uk Asian underground music, Canadian female X-Files fans to Australian dance cultures, this groundbreaking book draws on a wide variety of international case studies to investigate the new relationships among youth subcultural music, politics and taste. Is it possible to work within the existing limitations of subculture, or has the concept exhausted its usefulness? Can attempts at re-conceptualization, such as neo-tribes, sub-streams and micro-networks, adequately capture the experience of fragmentation, flux and fluidity that is central to contemporary youth culture? This timely book is the first to challenge and reconsider the use of subculture. In doing so, it questions the possibility and relevance of what might be termed post-subcultural studies and helps to chart the emergence of a new paradigm for the study of youth subculture.
seen as impossible. Cut adrift in a free-floating, inauthentic and valueless ether, post-subculturalists are interpreted as mindlessly genuflecting in awe at the post-modern, millennial sublime, where ‘the trappings of spectacular style are their right of admission to a costume party, a masquerade, a hedonistic escape into a Blitz Culture fantasy characterized by political indifference’ (Muggleton 1997: 200). This formulation of post-modernism, framed by a cultural pessimism suggesting quietism,
often constellations of temporary and ad hoc coherence embedded in a social space that is the product of relations and interconnections from the very local to the regional and transregional (Massey 1998: 125). The local structures (social and spatial) that determine the duration of these constellations as well as inflecting the reception and transmission of goods, images and people from distant contexts are interconnected through a series of networks. These networks (which are understood in this
A. (1996), Modernity At Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization, Minneapolis MN: University of Minnesota Press. Bourdieu, P. (1984), Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste (trans. R. Nice), Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. Bourdieu, P. (1993), The Field of Cultural Production, New York: Columbia University Press. Carey, J. (1992), Communication as Culture, New York: Routledge. Grossberg, L. (1984), ‘Another Boring Day in Paradise: Rock and Roll and the Empowerment of
between, say, supposedly ‘active’ audience reception and political action proper, between subcultural rituals – as flawlessly described, from a Bourdieuian perspective, in Thornton (1995) – and countercultural politics. Yet there was no way of accounting for the logic of the passage from culture to politics as long as one was caught in the heroic myths of subcultural studies. Thus, one stopped at an analysis, which is of course necessary but not sufficient, of sedimented micro-political common
that he would make a public statement, without having to expose his identity; however, the news show in which he was featured did little to disguise his appearance and voice and he was easily recognizable to even the remotest acquaintance. – 142 – Between Criminal and Political Deviance of governance comprised of interlocking ‘crown structures’, with five ‘crowns’ for each tribe, governing its day-to-day affairs.8 But the relationship amongst tribes was ambiguous, because those in Long Island