Search results

Theorising the Cybergothic
Isabella van Elferen

This article theorizes the transgressive faculties of cyberspace‘s Gothic labyrinth, arguing that it is haunted by the ghost of material/information dualism. This ghost is embodied in cybergoth subculture: while cybergothic music creates a gateway to the borderland between biological and virtual realities, dancing enables cybergoths to transgress the boundaries between the two.

Gothic Studies
Claire Nally

Whilst the focus of much criticism has addressed goth as a subculture, considerably less attention has been given to the gendered status of marketing and advertising in subcultural magazines, whilst ‘glossy’ goth magazines have enjoyed little concerted analysis at all. Subcultures are frequently represented by participants and critics as ‘idyllic’ spaces in which the free play of gender functions as distinct from the ‘mainstream’ culture. However, as Brill (2008), Hodkinson (2002) and Spooner (2004) have identified, this is unfortunately an idealistic critical position. Whilst goth men may embrace an ‘androgynous’ appearance, goth women frequently espouse a look which has much in common with traditional feminine values. Slippages between subcultural marketing and mainstream advertising are frequent and often neotraditional in their message regarding masculinity and femininity. In using critiques of postfeminism alongside subcultural theory, I seek to reevaluate how gender functions in these publications. By close inspection of scene representations of ‘goth’ in the twenty-first-century through magazines such as Gothic Beauty (US), Unscene and Devolution (UK), as well as interviews with participants, I argue women’s goth fashion, sexuality and body image often (but not exclusively) represent a hyperfemininity which draws from conventional ideas of womanhood.

Gothic Studies
Notes on the Repertoire
Charles Mueller

The Gothic or “Goth” subculture emerged from Britains punk scene during the early 1980s. The music associated with the movement showed a sophisticated handling of themes and aesthetics associated with Gothicism, proving that the Goth adjective was more than just a fanciful label given to the bands by the music industry and the popular press. In order to gain a greater understanding of what is genuinely Gothic about this body of music, this study investigates Goth from a musicological perspective exploring specific techniques that were used by the artists, and examining the reasons why Gothicism appealed to many British youths during the Thatcher-era.

Gothic Studies
Pop, politics and punk fanzines from 1976

Ripped, torn and cut offers a collection of original essays exploring the motivations behind – and the politics within – the multitude of fanzines that emerged in the wake of British punk from 1976. Sniffin’ Glue (1976–77), Mark Perry’s iconic punk fanzine, was but the first of many, paving the way for hundreds of home-made magazines to be cut and pasted in bedrooms across the UK. From these, glimpses into provincial cultures, teenage style wars and formative political ideas may be gleaned. An alternative history, away from the often-condescending glare of London’s media and music industry, can be formulated, drawn from such titles as Ripped & Torn, Brass Lip, City Fun, Vague, Kill Your Pet Puppy, Toxic Grafity, Hungry Beat and Hard as Nails. Here, in a pre-internet world, we see the development of networks and the dissemination of punk’s cultural impact as it fractured into myriad sub-scenes: industrial, post-punk, anarcho, Oi!, indie, goth. Ripped, torn and cut brings together academic analysis with practitioner accounts to forge a collaborative history ‘from below’. The first book of its kind, this collection reveals the contested nature of punk’s cultural politics by turning the pages of a vibrant underground press.

Catherine Spooner

This article reviews the exhibition _Gothic: Dark Glamour_, held at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, September 5 2008 – February 21 2009. It also considers the eponymous volume published alongside the exhibition by Valerie Steele and Jennifer Park. The exhibition was the first of international significance to identify and explore the influence of Gothic on contemporary fashion by both major label designers and small subcultural producers. The article hails the exhibition as a landmark event and investigates the various Gothic/fashion narratives it,puts forward, including veiling motifs, subcultural style, grotesque and perverse bodies, and the prevalence of British and Japanese design. The article concludes that the exhibition marks a moment in the glamorisation of the Gothic, in which it moves from being a minority to a mainstream interest.

Gothic Studies
Abstract only
Goth Subcultures in Cyberspace
Jason Whittaker

While Goths tend to be neglected in more mainstream media, they are thriving as part of online communities as part of the phenomenon of net.Goths. This paper considers some of the recent manifestations of such subcultural activities online, especially in relation to the practice of demarcating the boundaries of participation through displays of cultural capital (such as music and fashion), and aspects of communication that have emerged on the Internet such as ‘trolling’. The overarching concern of this paper is to explore some of the ways in which defining a subculture virtually may reinforce activities of the group in other environments.

Gothic Studies
Abstract only
Poppy Z. Brite, Courtney Love and Gothic Biography
Trevor Holmes

Gothic horror author Poppy Z. Brite wrote a biography of former Hole singer Courtney Love in 1997. What seemed an odd departure for the former actually took advantage of the Gothic valences in the latter‘s life and depictions in popular culture. The narrative gothicises Love‘s story while simultaneously repudiating and relying on Goth subculture for some of its legitimacy. This articulation of gothic literary form with Goth popular culture constitutes one traversal of Brite‘s text. Using concepts from Deleuze and Guattaris work, the essays reading of Courtney Love‘s biography is one plateau among others in an ongoing study of what I call ‘minoritarian gothic’ in popular and literary culture.

Gothic Studies
Gothic Studies and Gothic Subcultures
Sara Martin

This article defends the view that Gothic Studies should encourage research on contemporary gothic youth cultures from a Cultural Studies point of view. This is justified on two grounds: research on these youth cultures is a unique chance to consider gothic as a living cultural practice and not just as textual analysis mostly disengaged from the present; on the other hand, these subcultures are currently under attack by the media and moral minorities, especially in the USA, and Gothic Studies could - maybe should - help correct this regrettable situation born of prejudice against, and ignorance about, Gothic itself. The article reviews the embarrassing position of the Gothic Studies researcher today as regards gothic youth cultures and calls for the reinforcement of the poor knowledge we have of the evolution of these cultures in the last 20 years.

Gothic Studies
Abstract only
Discovering a Gothic Imagination
Anne Williams

Critics of the Gothic have typically stated that ancient, foreign, Catholic, Italy was generally an obvious choice as the site of early Gothic ‘otherness’. I argue that Walpole‘s choice of Italy was in fact overdetermined by his experiences there from 1739–41. In Italy, Walpole learned various strategies for disguising a self implicitly unacceptable in England. Italy was notorious for its homoerotic subcultures. Its Carnevale institutionalised the masquerade, and Italian opera performed the notion that gender is a performance. Upon his return to England, Walpole constructed Strawberry Hill, his most extravagant and elaborate masquerade. Years later, when the dream of his grand staircase impelled, The Castle of Otranto, another disguise was expressed. According to Otranto, Strawberry Hill was the unconscious embodiment of the English cultural prohibitions imposed upon him; the first Gothic novel is also the first closet.

Gothic Studies
The punk and post-punk worlds of Manchester, London, Liverpool and Sheffield, 1975–80
Author: Nick Crossley

This book argues that punk and post-punk, whatever their respective internal stylistic heterogeneity, enjoyed 'sociological reality' in Samuel Gilmore's and Howard Becker's sense. It elaborates the concept of 'music worlds', contrasting it with alternatives from the sociological literature. In particular it contrasts it with the concepts 'subculture', 'scene' and 'field'. The book then outlines a number of concepts which allow us to explore the localised process in which punk took shape in a sociologically rigorous manner. In particular it discusses the concepts of 'critical mass' and 'social networks'. The book also applies these concepts to the London punk world of 1976. It considers how talk about punk migrated from face-to-face networks to mass media networks and the effects of that shift. Continuing the discussion of punk's diffusion and growth, the book considers how punk worlds took shape in Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield. In addition, however, the book offers a more technical analysis of the network structures of the post-punk worlds of the three cities. Furthermore, extending this analysis, and combining qualitative and quantitative forms of analysis, the book considers how activities in different local post-punk worlds were themselves linked in a network, constituting a national post-punk world.