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Like a trojan horse among the average joes: acknowledging, upholding and reproducing alienation and rebelliousness within the heavy metal subculture
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this article is to draw attention to the approaches used by young heavy metal fans to acknowledge, uphold and reproduce the dynamic relationship between social alienation and rebelliousness within the heavy metal culture and with the outside world. The empirical material was obtained through focus groups and individual interviews with heavy metal fans of ages 18 through 26. This article makes four main observations. First, alienation in heavy metal culture must be understood in direct relation to the expression of rebelliousness. Second, rebelliousness is a provocation as well as an integration of in-group belongingness and out-group alienation. Third, alienation functions as a precursor to but also a catalyst of rebelliousness. Last, feelings of alienation and rebelliousness have either an abstract or a concrete recipient, towards whom the experience of self is mirrored.

Keywords [en]
alienation, rebelliousness, heavy metal
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-26560OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-26560DiVA, id: diva2:573459
Available from: 2012-11-30 Created: 2012-11-30 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. We bang our heads, therefore I am: subculture as laboratory of identity – the case of heavy metal
Open this publication in new window or tab >>We bang our heads, therefore I am: subculture as laboratory of identity – the case of heavy metal
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Subculture is a structure against which identities are both created and guarded. These identities are often socially and practically negotiated against an idea of individual authenticity. The thought of nurturing ones uniqueness while striving to fit in is a common duality and a clear cause of friction within subcultures. The fourty year old heavy metal subculture is no exception. It has proven an arena for boundary drawing, exclusivity and alienation, but also for fierce loyalty and a sense of self-fulfilment.

This thesis studies how young adults construct their identities in relation to subcultures in general and in relation to the heavy metal subculture in particular. This is brought to the for in four articles concerned with the construction and reproduction of subjective and intersubjective authenticity, the stigma and self-determination surrounding alienation, the practices of different levels of rituals and the construction of female gender identity in a male-dominated subculture.

The thesis finds that heavy metal fans construct their identity in relation to the subculture through a life story. This life story is spun around a number of arguments on self and identity, which all aim to position the individual as a long-term, authentic, knowledgeable, self-determined and practically involved heavy metal fan. Furthermore, identity is constructed through a number of practices of which the narration of the subculture and the use of instruments exemplify both abstract and concrete rituals. Alienation is an important aspect of identity creation, especially where heavy metal fans, following an initial feeling of alienation, position themselves and their culture in what is considered a self-chosen manner against an outside society. Alienation can especially accompany the experiences of the female heavy metal fan, both within and outside the subculture. However, endurance and knowledge helps sustain a sense of a self-made identity, which can earn her respect from other heavy metal fans.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitet, 2012. p. 87
Series
Örebro Studies in Sociology, ISSN 1650-2531 ; 14
Keywords
subculture, heavy metal, identity, authenticity, ritual, alienation, gender
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-25741 (URN)978-91-7668-896-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-11-16, Hörsal F, Forumhuset, Örebro universitet, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-09-07 Created: 2012-09-07 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved

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Larsson, Susanna

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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