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

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.

 

 

World Goth Day

Happy World Goth Day!

This post is dedicated all those who have invested time, effort, thought and feeling

to improving understanding of the Goth Subculture.

Express your belief in love and tolerance :

Please donate to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation.

 


I have been involved in the Goth scene for more than 25 years.  It is fair to say it is not an incidental part of my life, but a jolly significant one.

Undertaking this research project has required me to reconsider what the subculture – and even the word – really means to me.

How has it informed, shaped and influenced my life?  How do I feel about Goth now that my forties are marching by?  How has my relationship with Goth changed?  How was I labelled Goth in the first place?  For years I skirted around the word, denied it, smirked at it… but really there was no denying it… I had to admit…

I am a Goth 

Once that unpleasantness was behind me, I asked myself – well, why Goth?

It may not look like much to some, but it's ours...

It may not look like much to some, but it’s ours…

To my mind, my musical preferences have never been that extreme, I don’t worship Satan (maybe satin a little), I have never thought of myself as a darkling and negative commentary about dangerous youth cultures seemed unrelated to me.

For me, being involved in the Goth scene has taken many forms over the years:  from pretentious teenager (ok, I can admit it now, the velvet cape in the Australian Summer was too much), to serious art-school student, to Goth-Industrial dance-floor devotee, to incognito manager (yes, Goth to Boss), and back to Trad Goth university researcher waxing lyrical about the Goth subculture.

With this reflection has come the realisation that the very characteristics which prevented me from fitting in to mainstream youth culture and originally propelled me towards Goth when I was young have, over time, become very important to me indeed:   bookishness, scholarly debate, rejection of vacuous and syrupy pop culture, curiosity and acceptance of the slightly weird, rejection of narrow-mindedness …

For me, the experience of being in the Goth scene – participating in Goth events – has always been comfortable and for me that is the core of it.  I enjoy the intimacy of the smaller venues, the familiar faces, indeed even the familiar set lists.  I never cared what people called us, I knew we were having a ball, we loved the fog machines, the (feigned!?!) melancholia, the audacious and poetic clothing with its inferred antiquity and the layers allusion in the music.

So, this year I have chosen to celebrate World Goth Day and be proud.

To everyone celebrating World Goth Day today – however you choose to do it – be proud and have a fabulous day!

Celebrate with me - here, have some bat cake.....

Celebrate with me – here, have some bat cake…..

Thank you for the survey contributions, keep them coming!

 

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

Continue reading

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.   

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!