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

 

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Survey reopened

With all the events coming up this month, I have reopened the full International survey for a short time only for those who wish to participate – especially if you are attending a gig, event or festival in Europe.

Thank you if you completed this survey earlier in the year – there is no need to repeat it!

It will stay open throughout the Whitby Goth Weekend and event season, into the first couple of weeks of November.

 

Surveys are now closed – thank you for your responses.

Thank you to everyone who has expressed interest in this research.

I am looking forward to interviewing over the next few weeks.  Thanks also to everyone who has already participated particularly the very generous folks who have taken time out of festivities to chat to me – your contributions are greatly appreciated.

If you are interested in participating further – feel free to contact me by email or Facebook.

Thanks again,

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.  

Is it really just a phase?

Is it really just a phase?

For some people, I am sure it is, and that is as it should be.

But for those of us who have continued to be Goth (yes, even when we said we were not) there must be compelling reasons for this ongoing connection: this is the primary focus of my research.

My research project will undertake an examination of the phenomenon of the Gothic youth subculture (Goth) in Australian and European contexts, engaging with participants whose connection with the Goth community has extended beyond the transitional phase of youth into adulthood.   This post provides a brief introduction to my study, how this research evolved, its personal significance and the foci of investigations to come.

Goth: How I first experienced the subculture

In the early 1980s as punk was subsumed by mainstream culture and exploited by the mass media, the language and representation of youth culture changed; commodification of the once extraordinary “big” hair, torn fishnets and icon-laden T-shirts synonymous with the punk era diluted the anarchic impact of radical fashion so much so that Goth – the slightly more polite voice of ‘teenage rebellion’ – could thrive.  It was at this time I first encountered the pale, interesting fellows in music press articles that loitered like ghosts under a mane of black back-combed hair and velvet frock coats, their lyrics apparently misunderstood and their dark theatrical style a media confection.  Though I had been too young to experience Punk, Goth immediately connected with my own sensibilities and the historic influences promised a deeper cultural link I felt was missing in my suburban Australia.

By 1990 Goth had traversed the post-punk rebellion of the 1980s, emerging globally, in the UK, Europe and Australia in particular, replete with its own brand of dark, collective non-conformist individuality that somehow embraced this difficult relationship with the media (and labeling) and emerged as an intact subculture.  The foundations of Goth identity became standardised and the scene progressed sufficiently as to allow further diversification, resulting in varied style sub-sets which reflected other subcultural groups and celebrated otherness as distinct from mainstream pop-culture.  The idea of otherness and the acceptance of social and aesthetic difference in identity formation will form significant themes within this research.

Goth is the Word

During the early 1990s, Goth experienced a brief and incongruous period of mainstream popularity, with the Goth style influencing pop music videos, Goth characters appeared in television programmes and films, and the term Goth* began finding its way more frequently into conventional media and social discourse.   A seemingly resultant quirk in the Goth scene is the almost universal custom of self-denying of the label Goth [1]From Jaspers’ experience of the Dutch Goth scene, here in Australia as well as in Britain: it seems none of us liked to be labelled.  Through surveys, this paradox is an element of the subculture  I hope to discuss with other Goths in order to provide insight into the social etiquette of belonging in a subculture where authenticity and identity are seemingly visually apparent and yet naming it remains taboo.

Belonging & Social Connections

Connecting with other Goths, developing a sense of place within the subculture and understanding the basis of belonging within Goth will form recurrent themes within this research.  When I first began writing about the subculture  in the 1990s Goth was just beginning its life with the internet and my research at the time used the fledgling networks of online communities and forums to connect with the now globally linked Goth scene.  Through the use of the internet, from my desk in Perth Western Australia, I was able to connect with places, groups and individuals to a greater extent than ever before; replacing old methods of postal correspondence between Goths via NME (and other music press), tape/music exchanges and  fan-based zines.  Only a few years previous the social networks within Australia were tenuous at best and joined to the parent Goth culture in Europe only by our music and  mail-order catalogues and supported by limited personal exposure.  For the Goth scene in Perth, one of the most isolated capital cities in the world, the internet could not happen soon enough and it appeared to promise the subculture longevity.

A Diverse Subculture

In addition to the emergence of genuine commercial opportunities allowed by the internet (which I will explore in future discussions) it also created an environment in which the Goth subculture could evolve with increasing rapidity, developing maturity and complexity as it transitioned from fashion fad to true subculture and in so doing refining and defining the parameters of Goth style, music and identity.  Goth now encompasses a range of subcultural aesthetics which have been absorbed from diverse sources which would perhaps not have occurred without the benefit of our global connection.  Traditional Medieval and Victorian historic periods hold enduring influence on Goth aesthetics, especially High Victorian couture, these sit alongside the pre-imagined futuristic realities of Cyber Goth and hard-edged and militaristic Goth Industrial.  Goth  has incorporated the risqué fashion from other outsider subcultures (Punk, Bondage and Discipline/BDSM, fetish and erotic-horror) and conversely, appropriated elements of the cute and the kitsch from Japanese Harajuku and the 1950s-reminiscent Rockabilly styles[2].

…And  yet somehow Goth maintains its own cohesive style and Goth remains easily recognisable as a distinct subculture, despite these aesthetic shifts.

As a subculture then, Goth is as diverse as any other community; since the early 1990s it has dramatically changed and adapted to expand the basic tenets of the style; it has diversified from the traditional Gothic Rock influences (Trad-Goth) of its’ early years to include a wide variety of ‘looks’ and a breadth of styles which enable it to reach a broader, more committed audience.  My research seeks to explore if this is a result of the collective will of participants or if the changing patterns of social interaction in broader society have enabled this evolution through improved understanding of inter-cultural/inter-generational tolerance.  Discussion on the reduced importance of geography on social connection and how this has transformed the subculture over time will provide insights into the changing character of Goth from the early 1980s to today.

Revisiting this topic, nearly twenty years after my first research project, the profound changes in how the world now connects offers a new way in which to research and interact within the subculture and allows a deeper, more holistic understanding of the value Goth holds for participants  – myself included.


[1] ‘I am not a goth!’: The Unspoken Morale of Authenticity within the Dutch Gothic Subculture Agnes Jasper Etnofoor, Vol. 17, No. 1/2, AUTHENTICITY (2004), pp. 90-115Published by: Stichting Etnofoor  http://www.jstor.org/stable/25758070 Accessed: 26/06/2013 23:27

[2] Brill, D. 2008 Goth Culture: Gender, Sexuality and Style, Oxford: Berg.

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