Surveys Closed

May 28th 2016 –  Quick Update

The surveys for Goth – Just a Phase? are now closed.

I have received over 2000 responses to the surveys,  as well as conducting dozens of interviews, online chats, and discussions with people from all over the world. 

It has been amazing!Sureys Closed Small

I always welcome talking to people about their experiences in the Goth subculture, so please contact me directly if you wish to be involved.

Thank you again to everyone who has participated in this project.

Emma

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Happy World Goth Day 2016

001 Happy World Goth Day 2016

Today we celebrate World Goth Day!

To everyone who has found belonging, happiness, comfort and excitement in this fascinating culture, I wish you a fabulous day.   It is a day to celebrate  – so play your music loud, crimp your hair or perhaps eat glittery bat cookies!

May 22nd 2016 also marks the anniversary of Goth – Just a Phase? data collection and the formal close of the survey period.

Thank you again to all the wonderful people who completed my survey and to those I have interviewed for this project over the last year.

The research to date has provided insights into the different experiences of belonging in the Goth Culture around the world –  from hundreds of different perspectives.   I have been fortunate enough to talk to people from many different backgrounds, time-zones and life experience as well as Goths (and ex-Goths) of different ages.   I now look forward to reading through the data with a finer comb and teasing (and crimping) out all the details.

Over the next week or so I will be finalising interviews and closing off the surveys.

Goth – Just a Phase? One year on –  a snapshot…

I will continue to publish here and and on social media, and look forward to sharing my findings as the project continues.

If you are still keen to be involved please contact me directly – all contributions are valuable and add to our story.

WGD Bats 30Happy World Goth Day!

Emma

Thank you and Project Update

Thank you to everyone who has completed the surveys, and for the great interviews, conversations, web link ups, online chats, forums etc so far – without your contributions this project would not be able to continue.

THANK YOU APR 2016


Where to from here?

The anniversary of the project is approaching, and this will signal the conclusion of the data-gathering stage.  As data-gathering for this project draws to a close the focus will  shift to analysis and writing up of findings.

I will continue to conduct interviews until May 22nd 2016, mostly around Melbourne or online, so if you are interested please get in touch.


Update – Surveys Now Closed

28th May 2016 –   The surveys for Goth – Just a Phase? are now closed.  I always welcome talking to people about their experiences in the Goth subculture, so please contact me directly if you wish to be involved.

Sureys Closed Small

 

 

  CLOSED 10Quick WEB MINI Whitby RED

Thank you again to everyone who responded.


Australian Interviews conducted over the last few months in  Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane  as well as online  have provided the opportunity to talk with some fantastic people, all of whom have made valuable contributions to this project.

I have been interested to hear the different perspectives on the scene, individual understandings and experiences of Goth sub/culture and some of the quirks of belonging as a Goth – especially for those who have been involved in the scene for a long time.  Hearing how people  interpret the values of Goth culture, how Goths cope with change as well as the ongoing discussions around what is/not Goth/does it matter? and how we read those differences within the scene is fascinating.

Insights into how Goths in diverse geographic locations  – especially hot ones! – have altered their stylistic choices to suit their environment has been particularly interesting and an aspect of Goth identity which I hope to further explore.

Flinders St

In our conversations we covered topics as diverse as emerging new trends in the scene, music (always music!!!), changes in the club environment, hair techniques, elitism in Goth subculture, religion, ephemera and the value of Goth history, footwear, record stores, pubs, upcoming tours, new bands, image and style, Goth terminology, flour, band T-shirts, travelling in the Goth scene, hanging out on the Post Office steps, Goth aesthetics, hats, belonging within the Goth subculture, frilly shirts, shoes and boots, growing older as a Goth, safety-pins and fishnet, reconnecting with old friends,  urban tribes, DIY fashion, redefining Goth for new generations, Goth nostalgia, preferred tipples, online shopping and everything else in between…

Thank you for your generosity!

Dadas 2  Dadas

Posters 2  Perth from the air

Post Office3


 

Just a Phase Interview

Thank you to Daniel for contacting me for an interview about my project on his podcast Cemetery Confessions.   It was great to discuss the Goth culture in this forum and I look forward to sharing findings from this research in the future.

For the interview please see:

http://www.thebelfry.rip/blog/2016/3/29/just-a-phase-cemetery-confessions


 

ELB 2015

For those people who have already donated time, effort and energy to this research – my heartfelt thanks and gratitude.

I look forward to sharing the stories of our scene and furthering understanding of Goth culture over the course of this project.

Emma.

 

 

Melbourne Interviews: February 2016

Thank you to the wonderful people I met in Brisbane; it was fantastic to talk with you and to have the chance to enjoy your beautiful city, even if it was a tad hot!

Brisbane3

 

It was great to hear your perspectives on Goth identity and your experiences in the culture in the tropical North.  Exploring the city (and its pancakes) was a real pleasure.

Gothy Pancakes3

It was particularly fascinating to hear how the Brizzie scene – especially the clubs and retail outlets – has evolved over the years and how this has changed the way people connect, participate in the Goth scene and enjoy its music.  I look forward to discussing this more over the coming months.

 

Now it is Melbourne’s turn!

 

Melbourne Interviews

 

If you are interested in being interviewed for the Goth – Just a Phase?  research project I will be conducting interviews in Melbourne throughout February.

I am scheduling interviews at different restaurants, bars and other spots around the city, so please get in touch and let me know what suits you.

Also – if you are interested in taking part in a group discussion let me know.

After the Tears2

 

Please let me know via email or Facebook if you would like to participate or get in touch via the contact link.

Thanks again for your interest!

Emma

 

2016 Interviews

Interview Schedule Update


A quick note to Brisbane based folks…

I am currently planning the first Australian interviews.  Brisbane is first off the ranks!

Brisbane Interviews 2

_

If you are interested in being interviewed for the Goth – Just a Phase?  research project I will be conducting interviews in Brisbane at the end of the month.

I will be in Brisbane  January 29th – 31st 2016.     Please let me know via email or Facebook if you would like to participate  or via the contact info link below.

There is some flexibility on these dates, so please get in touch and let me know what time or place suits you and I will try to fit in as best I can.
 
Melbourne, Sydney and Perth will be scheduled soon.
  ♥
Thanks again for your interest!
Emma

  ♥

Surveys Closing!

The current surveys will be closed for analysis on

August 15th 2015


 https://isgothjustaphase.com/2015/05/20/goth-subculture-survey/

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the surveys.
Additional shorter surveys will follow for those who wish to stay involved.

I am following up the surveys with interviews and group discussions, first in the UK.

I will be scheduling interviews in London around October 18th 2015

& then to coincide with the Bram Stoker Film Festival and Whitby Goth Weekend in Whitby October 22nd – November 1st 2015.

 

Thank you for taking the survey - if you are coming to Whitby and you are interested in taking part in the project, let me know, it would be great to talk in person.

Thank you for taking the survey – if you are coming to Whitby and you are interested in taking part in the project, let me know, it would be great to talk in person.

Contact me via Facebook – Goth Phase or at isgothjustaphase.com

I look forward to sharing findings from the surveys in the coming months.

Thanks again for supporting this project, and I might just see you at Whitby!!!
Emma.

 


Just a Phase? Goth Subculture as an identity constant beyond youth.  

Finding the right words

Finding the right words

A central pillar of commencing my research has been the identification of the term ‘Goth’ as being a culturally acceptable moniker for the broader phenomenon of the Gothic subculture and its various subsets. As discussed by Sweet[1], there is an apparent shortage of empirical and interview data from which to analyse and extend discourse on the Goth subculture and its participants; this research project seeks to contribute to rectifying this deficit. Survey reply volumes received to date well exceed my initial estimates for responses; consequently appropriate analysis of compiled data will take considerable time. In obtaining a high response rate I hope to best represent the subculture, statistically, and provide an extensive account of and insights into the personal, social and stylistic motivations of the scene.

Prior to writing the surveys for this study, I invested much time and consideration into finding the right words to describe the subculture and its participants. Among my initial methodologies was surveying myself and assessing my own attitudes and feelings towards the terminology used by, for, about and on the subculture before talking further about those terms with friends and acquaintances in the scene.

Chief among my decisions was a definitive “No Gothic” approach.

Selection of words used by survey respondents to describe & discuss Goth

Snapshot of words used by survey respondents to describe & discuss Goth

As described in the brief ‘notes on terminology’[2] provided at the start of my surveys, my own reading of the term Gothic is very much to do with identifiable periods of historical aesthetics, architecture and the Gothic revivalist tradition of the 19th century. All these feature heavily in the Goth subculture, and are indeed critical in defining its style, design and aesthetics.

However, for me, Goth is not Gothic. Goth exists in its own right as a personal style, an identity signifier, quite distinct from architecture or literary genres. Goth, in my view, has consummately established itself to such an extent that it can be viewed as its own phenomenon, its own thing beyond a subculture – a culture.

When writing my research questions, I was acutely aware that my positioning of Goth in all its forms as a discrete phenomenon may not be shared by all my fellow scene participants, and would most likely be challenged academically. In the interests of stimulating debate and furthering discussions on the notion of Goth as a culture which extends its importance throughout life, I felt this distinction was, and is, warranted.

As the first point of enquiry, my surveys ask respondents to chose a Goth aesthetic with which they most identify, respondents are further asked to describe the subculture and provide terms they most associate with the subculture[3]. Since commencing analysis of the initial response data, patterns are emerging which reveal the complexity of terminology used within the culture, and reflect the ongoing struggle of participants to self-identify using consistent catch-all terms or even a common set of terms.

Respondents exhibit a genuine desire to contribute to the discussion and understanding of the culture and its motivations, providing detailed personal accounts of their involvement in the culture and applying intellectual rigour to their answers to ensure their notions of subcultural identity are unambiguous. Rather than engaging in a collective “quasi-nostalgia for an imagined past”[4] participants appear to fully engage with efforts to authentically portray the culture and consistently express a desire to provide credible representations of the stylistic choices made when adopting such a recognisable subcultural identity. That the subculture can withstand such critique from within, illustrates the level of maturity reached by the culture and the conviction of some participants in its constancy beyond a youthful experiment.

Goth aesthetics (or Goth identity types)

Goth aesthetics (or Goth identity types)

The data to date demonstrates participants’ capacity to cogently self-analyse their relationships with Goth, as well as articulating a genuine desire to provide a measured and truthful description of stylistic and social convictions of the culture. In considering early data snapshots it is apparent the notion of conscious, individualised and considered self-identification is fundamental to participants. When provided with a list of seventeen recognised Goth aesthetics (or identity types) a significant proportion of respondents chose option 18 (‘other’ response category) and provided their own authentic interpretation of Goth.

A demonstration of the significance respondents place on terminology can further be seen in the vocabulary used by participants to describe their image, subcultural style and identity (as per the illustration above).  Preliminary analysis of free-text responses has demonstrated respondents have a thorough understanding of the social and cultural implications of their active association with an ‘outsider’ culture.

Additionally, several respondents have made direct email contact to elaborate further on their answers and provide clarification on terminology in relation to social interactions and beliefs in order to ensure suitable labels are applied to Goth identity in public discourse.

Goth subculture, like any other social group, relies on its own unconscious/unspoken rules and conventions, social etiquettes and visual signifiers to communicate belonging.  The broad spectrum of striking apparel evident in the now decades old scene, promotes stylistic flexibility within the culture, and allows participants to experiment with different images without abandoning fundamental Goth sensibilities.

The “sense of theatre… created and enhanced by the diversity of costumes and looks”[5] that the subculture now fosters, enables participants to embody varied incarnations of their Goth persona and express individualised interpretations of Goth style without losing that necessary sense of belonging to the culture. That Goth culture sustains such a diverse range of distinct ‘types’ of Goths is testament to the scene’s ability to adapt, embrace and indulge different passions and preoccupations – however we label them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Sweet, Derek R. More Than Goth: The Rhetorical Reclamation of the Subcultural Self Popular Communication, 2005, Vol.3(4), p.239-264 pp243

[2] See: isgothjustaphase.com – surveys

[3] For example: International Survey Question 5 “Choosing from the list below – with which of the Goth aesthetics do you most identify (choose most appropriate or provide your own answer)”

[4] Cherry, B. and Mellins, M. (2012), ‘Negotiating the Punk in Steampunk: Subculture, Fashion & Performative Identity’, Punk & Post-Punk 1: 1, pp. 5–25, doi: 10.1386/punk.1.1.5_1

[5] Christina Goulding & Michael Saren (2009) Performing identity: an analysis of gender expressions at the Whitby goth festival, Consumption Markets & Culture, 12:1, 27-46, DOI: 10.1080/10253860802560813