CHAPTER 8

Overall Conclusions

Each concluding point hereafter refers to one of five aims that this book has attempted to address. For each point I will evaluate the extent to which the corresponding aim has been fulfilled, as well as summarising the theoretical outcomes that developed from the attempt to address that aim. Each of the aims has shared a common agenda to understand how music cultures and media interact with young people's everyday lives. Music, it has been argued, is a pervasive cultural resource for young people not only in contexts such as clubs, where it functions as a foreground, but in more routine contexts such as schools, where it often functions as a background activity. This pervasiveness extends to a variety of music practices such that young people identify themselves with heterogeneous tastes and performances through the articulation of honed musical narratives and literacies.

The first aim of this study has been to analyse classic theories of youth music cultures as subcultures–together with contemporary 'revisions' of these classic theories in terms of club cultures and post-subcultures–from an interactionist methodological standpoint. The theoretical formation of youth subcultures has been shown to depend more upon a European academic tradition of critical and cultural theory than upon a North American one of empirical sociological research. British cultural studies and the work of the CCCS in particular can be traced back to a critical tradition upholding values of artistic authenticity and critical scrutiny within a structuralist framework or ideal order of high and low culture. This tradition of cultural studies extended its influence to the method of semiotics, which in turn imposed its influence on key structuralist models for the analysis of subcultural texts–particularly music ones–as coded expressions of resistance (Hebdige 1979; Hall 1992; Hall and Jefferson 1993). The subcultural resistance thesis shared similar flaws to the preceding thesis of subcultural deviance. Both sets of theories interpreted youth as an intragenerational unit and music as a statement of its exclusive, structurally

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