Club Cultures: Boundaries, Identities and Otherness

By Silvia Rief | Go to book overview

9 Conclusion

AESTHETICIZATION AND MARKETIZATION:
BETWEEN TRANSGRESSION AND NORMALIZATION

Compared to other books on the subject, this book might be perceived as taking a rather prosaic and unsentimental perspective on clubbing cultures, failing to pay tribute to the special nature of the elevating and uplifting experiences that one can have in such contexts. Indeed, it aimed to break away from the romantic and celebratory appraisal of youth- and popular-cultural practices that forms an underlying thread in so many studies in these fields, no matter whether they are vested in subcultural, post- and after-subcultural or any other fashion. The focus on spectacular and extraordinary practices often carries with it an implicit assumption that these are more resistant, oppositional and creative than other, lessspectacular activities. This is because these spectacular cultural practices under study tend to become surfaces onto which identifications, hopes (and worries) of the researchers are projected. But Simon Frith (2004: 176) asks quite rightly, why would a person who is ostentatiously pierced all over the body be necessarily more ‘resistant’ to dominant culture than a person who joins a choir? Studying the spectacular components of youth lifestyles may deflect attention away from more mundane aspects and processes that structure the lives of (young) people. It may also contribute to popular images that suggest that such spectacular practices are widespread or that problematize such lifestyles and people engaging in them as either being ‘in trouble’ or ‘causing trouble’ (Cieslik 2003: 5). It is all the more important to bear in mind that clubbing participants are also ordinary people with ordinary lives and problems to think about. Likewise, the spectacular aspects of clubbing need to be viewed against the backdrop of its ordinary and routine features and the humdrum experiences in day and night life. It was one of the aims of this book to consider clubbing experiences in the context of the prolongation of youth and of biographical transitions such as from education to work; family and relationships; travel and migration; and the formation of sexual codes and identities. It was another aim to bring into focus, and to contextualize, clubbing experiences within the broader framework of (urban) governance and the

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