Just a Phase? Goth Subculture as an identity constant beyond youth
My name is Emma, I have been involved in the Australian Goth scene since I was about thirteen. Now in my 40s, I continue to be connected to Goth and consider it an integral component of my identity.
I am particularly interested in how Goth identity endures for those of us over forty – did people think it was Just a Phase – how did Goth come to be part of your life and why is it important….
To find out… I am conducting a PhD research project in the Faculty of Humanities at Curtin University, which is based in Perth Western Australia.
Just a Phase? = Student Research Project
In 1997 I wrote a Master’s thesis entitled Empowerment through Subcultural Identity which focussed on the ideas of ‘personal design’, socio-aesthetics and identity formation within subcultures. At the time I described the Gothic and Industrial subcultures as:
“A means through which individuals, usually in early adolescence, may find self respect, an environment suitable for sexual experimentation and discovery, a sense of individuality, and overall a sense of empowerment; a belief in ones’ self and in the power of difference within society.”
I am therefore surprised (and a little chuffed), nearly twenty years later, that the subculture is still fascinatingly complex, very much central to my identity and seems to be so for many others.
I have been granted permission by the University (Project #5251, Ethics Approval RDHU-17-15) to undertake PhD research, conducting surveys and interviews as part of my study.
The research seeks to examine how Goth subculture offers participants a complex cultural framework in which to explore and develop their identity outside conventional youth culture, and the ways in which this extends into adult life. I am interested in understanding how members of the Goth community all over the world interact, regard the (sub)culture and find identity in its aesthetics.
I have spoken with people from all over the world as a result of posts here, as well as via other online networks or by word of mouth. Contact and engagement with the Goth community is essential to this project – to date, more than 2000 people have been involved.
This site will serve as a contact point throughout the research – a place to share perspectives on the Goth subculture and the experiences of transitioning from a youthful participant to adult within Goth. I will also publish updates as the project progresses and post occasional findings as the research data is analysed.
Please contact me if you would like to know more about the research, or be involved.