1st Edition

The Subcultural Imagination Theory, Research and Reflexivity in Contemporary Youth Cultures

Edited By Shane Blackman, Michelle Kempson Copyright 2016
    204 Pages
    by Routledge

    204 Pages
    by Routledge

    The Subcultural Imagination discusses young adults in subcultures and examines how sociologists use qualitative research methods to study them. Through the application of the ideas of C. Wright Mills to the development of theory-reflexive ethnography, this book analyses the experiences of young people in different subcultural settings, as well as reflecting on how young people in subcultures interact in the wider context of society, biography and history. From Cuba to London, and Bulgaria to Asia, this book delves into urban spaces and street corners, young people’s parties, gigs, BDSM fetish clubs, school, the home, and feminist zines to offer a picture of live sociology in practice. In three parts, the volume explores:

    • history, biography and subculture;
    • practising reflexivity in the field;
    • epistemologies, pedagogies and the subcultural subject.

    The book offers cutting edge theory and rich empirical research on social class, gender and ethnicities from both established and new researchers across diverse disciplinary backgrounds. It moves the subcultural debate beyond the impasse of the term’s relevance, to one where researchers are fully engaged with the lives of the subcultural subjects. This innovative edited collection will appeal to scholars and students in the areas of sociology, youth studies, media and cultural studies/communication, research methods and ethnography, popular music studies, criminology, politics, social and cultural theory, and gender studies.

    Introduction: The Social Imagination – Towards the Subcultural Subject by Shane Blackman and Michelle Kempson  Part I: History, Biography and Subculture  1. From Here to Modernity: Rethinking the Youth Question with C Wright Mills by Phil Cohen  2. Subcultural and Post-Subcultural Compatibility: The Case of Cuban Underground Rap by Eleni Dimou  3. From Bad to Worse? Marginalised Youth and ‘Road Life’ (Mis)Representations and Realities by Anthony Gunter  Part II: Practising Reflexivity in the Field  4. The Emotional Imagination: Exploring Critical Ventriloquy and Emotional Edgework in Reflexive Sociological Ethnography with Young People by Shane Blackman  5. Rachela through the Looking Glass: Researching the Occupational Subculture of Lap-Dancers by Rachela Colosi  6. ‘Biography in the Laboratory’: Applying the Chicago School Approach to Dual Researcher Positionality within the Night-Time Economy by Robert Mcpherson  7. Temporary Reflexive Disempowerment: Working through Fieldwork Ethnography and Its Impact on a Female Researcher by Gemma Commane  Part III: Epistemologies, Pedagogies and the Subcultural Subject  8. Understanding Nightlife Identities and Divisions through the Subculture/ Post-Subculture Debate by Robert Hollands  9. Feminism, Subculture and the Production of Knowledge: Developing Intersectional Epistemologies amidst the Reflexive Turn by Michelle Kempson  10. Bulgarian Post-Transitional Subcultures: Insider Ethnographic Research of the Underground Scene by Virhra Barova  11. Connecting Personal Troubles and Public Issues in Asian Subculture Studies by Patrick Williams  12. Conclusion: C. Wright Mills, the ‘Subcultural’ Imagination, Reflexivity and the Subcultural Subject by Shane Blackman and Michelle Kempson


    Shane Blackman is a Professor of Cultural Studies at Canterbury Christ Church University, UK. His books include Youth: Positions and Oppositions, Style, Sexuality and Schooling (1995); Drugs Education and the National Curriculum (1996) and Chilling Out: The Cultural Politics of Substance Consumption, Youth and Drug Policy (2004) and Young People, Class and Place, (eds), with Shildrick, T. and MacDonald, R. (2010). He has recently published papers on ethnography, subcultural theory, anti-social behaviour and alcohol and young women. He is an editor of the Journal of Youth Studies and YOUNG: Nordic Journal of Youth Research and a member of the ESRC Peer Review College.

    Michelle Kempson is a Lecturer at Solihull College and University Centre, UK. She completed her PhD in Women and Gender studies at the University of Warwick, and her research interests and publication history centre on youth studies, adult education, feminist theory, and cultural aesthetics.