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

Calling all Australian Goths…

Ok Australians, it’s your turn!

I am now scheduling interviews for Australian folk early in the new year.

I am based in Melbourne, but will be scheduling travel to other cities – so let me know if you are interested in participating.

As with the International survey, I have reopened the Australian survey (linked below) if you were unable to complete it last time.

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

 

Once again, a massive thank you to everyone who has expressed interest in this research and to those who have already contributed.

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

Thanks again,

Emma

Whitby – One Month On

WHITBY by night3

First and foremost : A huge thank you to all the wonderful people I met, interviewed, chatted with, photographed and spent time with in Whitby, London, Manchester, Vancouver and all the other stops along the way.   It was brilliant to meet so many folks who were willing to share their stories and be part of this project – thank you for donating your time to my research.

I owe particular thanks to the people I spoke with in Whitby at both the Bram Stoker International Film Festival and the Whitby Goth Weekend.  Thank you for giving up valuable festival time to talk with me about your experiences in the Goth Subculture.

I truly appreciate the efforts you made to fit this project into your schedule. Your honesty, good humour, acceptance, generosity and integrity is a rare and wonderful thing and your contributions are greatly valued.

Bram Stoker International Film Festival 2015

From a research perspective, the weeks in Whitby are critical to the data-gathering phase of my study and time spent there has generated material which I will draw on throughout my project including lots of fantastic conversations and visuals.

From a personal perspective, the trip was hugely inspiring and has renewed my commitment to pursue this research and to write about the Goth subculture.

At a time when so much energy seems to be devoted to writing about societal division it is of some comfort to be reflecting on experiences of belonging.


 

Bram Stoker International Film Festival 2015

 Where to from here?

For the immediate future, I am working through the data I amassed overseas and writing up my notes.

Then, it is time for the Australian contingent!

I will be scheduling interviews in Australia over the next few months, and will reopen the Australian survey to correspond with these interviews.

 

Once again, thank you to everyone who has contributed to and supported this research.

Cheers,

Emma

          Whitby Goth Weekend 2015 (October)

 

 

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

Just a Phase – New Mini Surveys

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

This research seeks to improve understanding of the subculture, to share thoughts and experiences with other Goths (and researchers) especially those, like me, who have continued to be involved with Goth well beyond youth!

 

Thank you to all the wonderful people who recently responded to my series of long surveys about the Goth subculture.

Your contributions are greatly appreciated and the wealth of data provided will keep me busy for a long while to come…

The long surveys are now closed for analysis – however I am still keen to receive input.

 

Over the coming months I will be publishing a semi-regular series of very short short (5-10 question) surveys on particular aspects of the subculture identified by survey participants as being central to Goth.

The first in these mini surveys is about Music & Media.

 

Surveys now Closed – thank you for your responses!

 

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.  

Goth Subculture Survey


Take the Survey!!!

What better way to celebrate World Goth Day than by taking a survey all about Goth Subculture!!

Follow the links below to take part or contact me directly if you wish:

                   

                   CONTACT WEB MINI Whitby BLUE

Surveys are now closed – Please contact me if you would like to be involved.

Is Goth Just a Phase?

To find out I am conducting research at Curtin University.   You are all welcome to take the surveys, however I am particularly interested in Goth identity in Australia & for those of us over 40.

How did Goth come to be part of your life… Did you think it was just a phase…How would you describe Goth… Is there a strong Goth population where you live???

Thank you for your contributions.

Curtin University Project Number 5251 Approval Number RDHU-17-15

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.

Curtin University Project #5251, Ethics Approval RDHU-17-15 see About for more info

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Just a Phase?

Welcome

This website is where I will be documenting my research project:

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

This PhD project is being conducted via Curtin University of Technology Western Australia:  Project Number 5251 Approval Number RDHU-17-15

My name is Emma, I have been involved in the Australian Goth scene since I was about thirteen.  Now in my early 40s, I continue to be connected to Goth and consider it an integral component of my identity.

 

What does this mean?

Essentially – Goth is more than hairspray, crimpers and eyeliner…

My connection to the Goth culture has taken me all over the world following bands, visiting Goth events and places.

As Goths we can visit clubs, go to gigs or events (such as the Whitby Goth Weekend or Wave Gotik Treffen) and feel like we belong – sometimes without even talking to other attendees.  We even have our own day!   It is my belief this connectedness – this sense of place – benefits us in a variety of ways and is a key factor which supports the overall longevity of the subculture.

 I am particularly interested what being a Goth means for those of us over forty – did people think it was Just a Phase (like your parents insisted) – how did Goth come to be part of your life and why is it important….

The Goth subculture is fascinating, it has endured for more than three decades after its first emergence in the late 1970s, and it continues to morph and transform.  Over this time, Goth subculture has developed a mature sense of itself: it is aware of its own irony – of its very conformity as a group who proclaim individuality.

Goth has a sense of humour about itself – it is quite normal for Goths to insist I am not a Goth  ( ….but we are).

I will use this site to write about various aspects of the Goth subculture and seek input from others.  I will also publish links to surveys for those who wish to participate.  By doing this, I hope to improve understanding of the subculture, to  share thoughts and experiences with other Goths (and researchers) especially those, like me,  who have continued to be involved with Goth well beyond youth!