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Club Cultures: Music, Media, and Subcultural Capital / Edition 1

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Focusing on youth cultures that revolve around dance clubs and raves in Great Britain and the U.S., Sarah Thornton highlights the values of authenticity and hipness and explores the complex hierarchies that emerge within the domain of popular culture. She portrays club cultures as "taste cultures" brought together by micro-media like flyers and listings, transformed into self-conscious "subcultures" by such niche media as the music and style press, and sometimes recast as "movements" with the aid of such mass media as tabloid newspaper front pages. She also traces changes in the recording medium from a marginal entertainment in the 50s to the clubs and raves of the 90s.

Drawing on the work of Pierre Bourdieu, Thornton coins the term "subcultural capital" to make sense of distinctions made by "cool" youth, noting particularly their disparagement of the "mainstream" against which they measure their alternative cultural worth. Well supported with case studies, readable, and innovative, Club Cultures will become a key text in cultural and media studies and in the sociology of culture.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"One of the smartest and most audacious pieces of musical sociology in years, Club Cultures anatomizes Britain's turn-of-the-'90s dance scene with the style and sympathy that Dick Hebdige's classic Subculture applied to punk." —Spin Magazine

"Skipping from discos to acid houses to raves, the world within the scene is dissected by theoretical insight and first hand experience . . . Thornton never falls short on hipster jargon."—Bikini

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819562975
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 3/8/1996
  • Series: Music Culture
  • Edition description: 1st U.S. Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 201
  • Sales rank: 838,161
  • Product dimensions: 5.84 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Sarah Thornton is Lecturer in Media Studies at the University of Sussex and coeditor of The Subcultures Reader (1996).

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Table of Contents

List of Plates
List of Figures
1. The Distinctions of Cultures Without Distinction
Youth and their Social Spaces
2. Authenticities from Record Hops to Raves (and the History of Disc Culture)
The Authentication of a Mass Media
Industrial Forces, Musician Resistance and ‘Live’ Ideology
‘Real’ Events and Altered Spaces
The Authentication of Dance Genres
The Resp0nse of the ‘Live’ Gig
3. Exploring the meaning of the Mainstream (or why Sharon and Tracy Dance around their Handbags)
A night of Research
Academic Accounts of the Cultural Organization of Youth
The Social Logic of Subcultural Capital
Participation versus Observation of Dance Crowds Conclusion
4. The Media Development of ‘Subcultures’ (or the Sensational Story of ‘Acid House’)
The Underground versus the Overexposed
Mass Media: ‘Selling Out’ and ‘Moral Panic’
Micro-Media: Flyers, Listings, Fanzines, Pirates nice Media: the Editorial Search for Subcultures

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