The 'Failure' of Youth Culture: Reflexivity, Music and Politics in the Black Metal Scene

Kahn-Harris, Keith. 2004. The 'Failure' of Youth Culture: Reflexivity, Music and Politics in the Black Metal Scene. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 7(1), pp. 95-111. ISSN 14603551 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article examines an enduring question raised by subcultural studies: how youth culture can be challenging and transgressive, yet '��fail'�� to produce wider social change. This question is addressed through a case study of the black metal music scene. The black metal scene flirts with violent racism, yet has resisted embracing outright fascism. The article argues that this is due to the way in which music is '��reflexively antireflexively'�� constructed as a depoliticizing category. It is argued that an investigation of such forms of reflexivity might explain the enduring '��failure'�� of youth cultures to change more than their immediate surroundings.

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black metal, extreme metal, racism, reflexivity, scene, subculture, satanic, mayhem, burzum, music, politics

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Centre for Urban and Community Research (CUCR)


1 February 2004Published

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Date Deposited:

20 May 2009 12:27

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:27

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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