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The Role of Targeted Harassment in Subcultural Life and Identity

Garland, JM and Hodkinson, Paul (2015) The Role of Targeted Harassment in Subcultural Life and Identity British Journal of Sociology.

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This paper examines significance of experiences and understandings of targeted harassment to the lives and identities of youth subcultural participants, through case study research on goths. It does so against a context of considerable recent public discussion about the victimisation of this group, alongside other ‘alternative’ subcultures and a surprising scarcity of academic research on the subject. The analysis presented indicates that, although individual experiences are somewhat diverse, the spectre of harassment or victimisation can form an ever-present accompaniment to subcultural life, even for those who have never been seriously targeted. As such, it forms part of what it is to be a goth and comprises significant common ground among participants, something strengthened further by connections made by many participants between abuse directed at their subcultural identity and experiences of bullying earlier in life. Drawing upon classic and more recent theoretical understandings of how subcultural groups respond to broader forms of outside hostility, we show how collective understandings of the realities and possibilities of being targeted tied in with a broader internal discourse of being collectively marginalised by a perceived ‘normal’ or ‘mainstream’ society. The role of harassment as part of this, we argue, prompted a striking embrace of otherness that expressed itself in both grassroots and more organised forms of discourse and connected to the broader strengthening of subcultural identities.

Item Type: Article
Authors :
Date : 1 January 2015
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 16 May 2017 15:30
Last Modified : 24 May 2018 11:29

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