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"It's a matter of eating or being eaten." Gender positioning and difference making in the heavy metal subculture
University of Skövde, School of Technology and Society.
Malmö University, Sweden.
2013 (English)In: European Journal of Cultural Studies, ISSN 1367-5494, E-ISSN 1460-3551, Vol. 16, no 4, p. 453-467Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this article is to study how gender difference and ultimately female gender positioning are created and manifested in the heavy metal culture. The empirical material consists of single interviews and focus group interviews with heavy metal fans between the ages of 18 and 26. The overall finding is that while gender is a moveable position in general, women move their gender position to a greater extent than men, as they are forced constantly to adhere to the male values of the heavy metal culture. Three dualities in the positioning of heavy metal women illustrate this phenomenon: a whore/goddess' paradigm based on the knowledge of the female heavy metal fan; the balancing act of acting male' and looking female'; and the gender twilight zone' of being insufficiently male for heavy metal culture while being insufficiently female for the mainstream world.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2013. Vol. 16, no 4, p. 453-467
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Humanities and Social sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-8810DOI: 10.1177/1367549413484305ISI: 000322320000005Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84880824208OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-8810DiVA, id: diva2:696555
Available from: 2014-02-14 Created: 2014-02-14 Last updated: 2018-01-23Bibliographically 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
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:his:diva-14675 (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
Note

Delarbeten: 1. I bang my head, therefore I am: constructing individual and social authenticity in the heavy metal subculture 2. Like a trojan horse among the average joes: acknowledging, upholding and reproducing alienation and rebelliousness within the heavy metal subculture 3. Never alone in the dark, always alone in the dark: rituals and social adhesives in the heavy metal subculture 4. It’s a matter of eating or being eaten: gender positioning and difference making in the heavy metal subculture

Available from: 2018-01-23 Created: 2018-01-23 Last updated: 2018-01-23

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Nordström, Susanna

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