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Subjectivity and Subculture: one day symposium


Monday 10th June 2013: 9:00am-6:30pm

Institute of Advanced Study, Milburn House, University of Warwick


We are delighted to announce that Dr Rupa Huq, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Kingston University, and Dr Shane Blackman, Professor of Cultural Studies at Canterbury Christ Church University, will give keynote papers at the symposium.


Theories of subculture - emerging primarily from within the Chicago School in the early Twentieth Century, and from the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) in the 1970s and 1980s – have tended to characterise subculture as the collective cultural and social practices of disenfranchised young working class males. However, in recent years scholars have challenged this definition, arguing that subcultures are inhabited by a diverse population, and that these spaces may not be as cohesive as earlier theorisations suggest.

Scholars have addressed this issue by pursuing research into ‘marginal subcultures’. This work sheds light on how people are able to organise their cultural practices around specific modes of subjectivity, but there is, to date, limited engagement with how people negotiate a variety of subject positions within the same subcultural environments.

This one day symposium focuses on how subjectivities are managed by subcultural participants and by those who research such spaces. It seeks to facilitate a dialogue about the intersectional and reflexive considerations of subcultural research, placing particular emphasis on the implementation of innovative methodological strategies. The symposium will address the following questions:

1) Are marginal subjectivities always disempowered within established subcultural environments?

2) To what extent should contemporary subcultural researchers challenge the definition of subculture as a form of ‘marginal’, or ‘disenfranchised’, collective cultural participation?

3) What are the primary epistemological concerns within the field of subcultural studies at the present time?

4) How can we as researchers develop innovative methodological approaches to the study of subjectivity and subculture?

5) What does the future of subcultural studies look like?

Proposals for 15 minute papers that reflect upon one, or a number, of these questions are invited. Specific topics may include, but are not limited to:

- The negotiation of gender/racial/ethnic/sexual identities within subculture.

- Feminism in subculture.

- Insider/outsider subjectivities in subcultural context.

- Disability and subcultural participation.

- Age and subculture.

- Femininity, masculinity and subculture.

- Queer identity within subculture.

- Subjectivity in the context of trans-local subcultural spaces.

- Innovative methodological approaches to the study of subculture.

- The researcher’s own reflexive considerations in relation to the subcultures they study.

- Alternative terminology, including ‘scenes’, ‘neo-tribes’, ‘communities’ and ‘networks’.

- The visual representation of subculture.

- Subculture and the Internet.

Please email 250 word proposals to Dr Michelle Kempson, at, before 15th April 2013.