Pop Culture

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Week Two
Thornton, (1994). 'Moral Panic, The Media & British Rave Culture'. In: Andrew Ross & Tricia Rose (ed), Microphone Fiends, Youth Music & Youth Culture. 1st ed. London: Routledge. pp.(176-192). Upon reading Sarah Thornton’s chapter, ‘Panic, the Media and British Rave Culture’ it quickly became apparent that she was expressing the view that although there is a rather prominent disdain towards the media from grass-roots cultures and subcultures, it is in fact the media that helps develop these subcultures and is very effective in their growth. This is contrary to youth discourses, which believe that subcultures “begin as a seed and grow by the force of their own energy” as Thornton puts it. Instead, the media is integral to the processes by which, in Bordieu’s terms, “we create groups with words”. The text goes on to talk about the ‘underground’, which is defined as the way in which clubbers refer to all things subcultural. More trendy/fashionable music for example would be perceived to be ‘underground’, and ‘underground’ sounds and styles are seen as authentic. These styles and sounds are then pitted against the mass media. This is what subcultures define themselves as.  The text also discusses how subcultures and the underground scene embrace negative newspaper coverage and parental incomprehension. Undergrounds appear to define themselves mostly as what they’re not, and this is ‘mainstream’. They see the mainstream as a product of mass media and distance themselves from this supposedly torrid creation. Dance cultures stigmatise the mainstream for being ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘uncommitted’ and ridicule it for its ‘bandwagon mentality’. Top of The Pops typifies the supposed hatred of the mainstream from subcultures, as a band would appear to ‘sell out’ if they were to appear on the show. Dick Hebdige theories ‘selling out’ as the process of “incorporation into the hegemony”.  She says that ‘subcultural capital’ is what individuals gain from...
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