13 November 2007
Chapter published in Routledge Companion to Gothic
2 September 2007
Online Journals, Social Networking - article published in NMS
Social Networking Software has become a key area of interest, both within and beyond academia and it is certainly an area I hope to pursue in greater and greater detail in the coming months. This article is based on users of LiveJournal, a website centred on personal blogging, but also something of a pioneer of social networking features such as user profiles, friends lists and the like. It was accepted for publication two years ago but I believe that, in spite of the various changes to social software between then and now, many of the observations and findings have a clear significance when thinking about uses of more recent platforms such as MySpace, Bebo and Facebook. The article can be accessed via the New Media and Society journal homepage. If are not a subscriber and are interested in the article, please contact me.
12 June 2007
Youth Cultures book released!
27 March 2007 - Two immanent publications...
April 2007 will see the release of two publications of interest...
Youth Cultures: Scenes, Subcultures and Tribes, edited by myself and Wolfgang Deicke, outlines key themes in the contemporary study of the identities and lifestyles of young people via research case studies by scholars from the UK, the US and mainland Europe. The book addresses core theoretical and methodological questions as well as key substantive themes, including commerce, power and politics, issues of gender and ethnicity, uses of place and space and impacts of new media and communications. For a full contents list, author biographies and further details click here.
Goth: Undead Subculture is edited by Lauren Goodlad and Michael Bibby. It offers an extensive range of contributions to discussions of goth culture, covering gender, performance, artefacts, localities and communities. My own contribution to the collection is entitled '"We are all individuals but we've all got the same boots on!" Traces of Individualism in a Subcultural Community'. The chapter discusses examples of the ways in which elements of individual difference coexist with group commitment and collective identity in the goth scene.
21 January 2007 - Seminar - Young People, New Technologies and Political Engagement
Dr Rachel Brooks and myself are delighted to have secured funding to organise an international seminar focused upon the relationships between new technologies and political engagement amongst the young. The event is funded by the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Surrey and by the Social Policy Association. Confirmed key speakers include Lance Bennett, Stephen Coleman and Anita Harris. Download the Call for Papers.
26th November 2006
A very busy month or so. In addition to the usual, I took part in a BBC2 Culture Show television programme about the Whitby Gothic Weekend which was broadcast on the 11th November. I also visited Ghent, Belgium to take part in a highly enjoyable public seminar focused upon the goth scene and youth culture - many thanks to Ladda for inviting me to the event.
Elsewhere we are about to receive proofs for the Youth Cultures book, which looks on track to be released sometime during spring 2007. Meanwhile, Dr Rachel Brooks and myself are delighted to have recently won some funding to organise an international seminar on Young People, New Technologies and Political Participation. We hope to attract scholars, commentators and policy makers from around the world to discuss a crucially important set of issues. More details to follow...
10th October 2006
I recently did some interviews for a couple of Canadian regional radio stations focused upon the apparent links to the goth scene of the perpetrator of the recent college shootings in Montreal. The Canadian media responded to the incident with a significant amount of reporting of the goth scene itself as a possible cause for the events which took place. See the media page on this site for details and for links to the interviews.
On a happier note, I am looking forward to appearing at the latest Talkie Walkie event in Ghent, Belgium next month. The event takes place in the evening of November 14th and also features Kurt Ingels from the magazine Dark Entries. The Talkie Walkie events represent an ongoing academic discussion of the contemporary applicability of subcultural theory to contemporary youth and music groupings. Previous speakers at the events have included Rupa Huq, Paul Sweetman, Keith Khan-Harris and Sian Lincoln.
5th August 2006
Uses of Blogs released and available for purchase
Very pleased to publicise the release of a much anticipated book, Uses of Blogs, edited by Axel Bruns and Joanne Jacobs. The book includes 22 chapters on the variety of uses to which blogs are currently being put, including news blogging, business blogging, fictional blogging and subcultural blogging. It is with the latter of these that my own contribution is concerned. Entitled 'Subcultural Blogging: Online Journals and Group Involvement Among UK Goths', the chapter is the first of two initial publications based upon my research of the LiveJournal use of UK goths during 2004. The chapter focuses upon some of the ways in which LiveJournal use enhanced the participation of individuals in the goth scene. A further publication, focused in much more theoretical and empirical detail on the capacity of LiveJournal to enhance a more individualistic style of communication, is due to be published later this year in the journal, New Media and Society.
9th July 2006
Youth Cultures submitted
I'm delighted to say that after a huge effort on the part of myself, my co-editor Wolfgang Deicke and all our contributors, the full Youth Cultures manuscript has now been submitted to Routledge. We are extremely pleased with the way the collection is looking and hopeful that it will be published by mid-2007...
Successful Kaunas trip
My visit to Kaunas, as guest speaker at the Theoretical and Methodological Conference of the Eastern European Society and Lifestyles project, was both enjoyable and illuminating. The project is focused upon mapping and explaining the emergence of a variety of cultures and subcultures in a variety of former communist states. My own contribution to this event was to offer some thoughts about subcultural and so-called post-subcultural theories in relation to my own case study of the goth scene. As well as taking part in stimulating debate and discussion I was able to see a little bit of Lithuania, including a goth bar in Kaunas and Rasos (solstice) festivities in the countryside near Vilnius. The event was extremely well organised and I am eager to hear about the results and conclusions of the research project.
16 June 2006
Youth Cultures book nears completion...
We are now at an advanced stage in the production of the full manuscript for the Youth Cultures book and should be in a position to submit the ms to Routledge within the next few weeks.The book is set to be released in 2007.
Meanwhile, I am delighted to be heading to Lithuania next week in order to speak at a conference related to the international 'Society and Lifestyles' project. I will be talking about subcultural and post-subcultural theory in relation to the case study of the goth scene.
3 May 2006 - Article on Goth Culture and Violence in Dose Magazine
Elements of the Canadian media have responded to a recent murder case by focusing upon the interest in the goth scene of one of the accused. The girl, aged 12, and her 23 year old boyfriend, were said to have been users of the web site, VampireFreaks.com. I was invited to comment on this story for the Toronto edition of Dose Magazine. An article entitled 'Blaming Violence on Goth Culture Jumps the Gun: Experts' appeared in the magazine on 26th April 2006. The edition can be downloaded from here (note - this is a fairly large pdf file - broadband only!)
15th April 2006 - BMJ Study Identifies Correlation Between Goths and Self-Harm
There has been considerable media interest in a study published in the British Medical Journal, which claims to have identified a correlation between teenage identification with the goth scene and involvement in activities such as self-harming. Among 25 respondents who claimed strongly to identify with the goth scene, twelve had harmed themselves and nine had attempted suicide. Three points are worthy of note.
1) The methodology appears basically sound and the conclusions have been considered carefully by a conscientious team of researchers who have been at pains urge caution in the interpretation of their results. The researchers sent an intial draft of their paper to me and willingly took on board some of my comments.
2) As is acknowledged by the authors (Young, Sweeting & West 2006), the findings in question are based upon a tiny sample of heavily identified goths (25) and would have to be replicated on a larger scale before confident conclusions could be drawn. My own research on the goth scene did not reveal a prevalence of self-harm on anything like the scale indicated in this study and did not indicate that self-harm was part of the group's core values or that it was liable to increase one's 'subcultural status'. It remains conceivable that a degree of self-harm was present but largely invisible to my research.
3) The authors of the study acknowledge that their findings do not demonstrate that goth culture encourages self-harming. A more likely explanation is that teenagers already involved in self-harming were attracted to the goth scene. Indeed, the goth scene may have a beneficial effect on such individuals, by offering a source of belonging and friendships and a supportive environment. In my own research it was clear that, for some participants, the subculture offered a degree of social fulfilment which had not been readily available to them outside the group.