Dark Enactments in Milan: A Practice-Centred Exploration of an Italian Post-Punk Subculture of the ‘80s

Simone Tosoni


The present paper intends to propose a methodological framework inspired by second generation practice theories and by John Law's concept of enactment for the study of subcultures related to music and style, as a way to circumvent the frontal contraposition between subculturalist and post subculturalist approaches that characterize the field. Addressing the case of goth (or dark, as the subculture is known in Italy) in Milan in the 1980s, the paper shows how the subculture was not internally homogeneous, but also how its internal variations did not simply depend on personal interpretations. In Milan, in fact, it was possible to observe different and stabilized ways of enacting dark, depending on the bundle of practices in which subcultural participation unfolded: the activist enactment, the music club enactment, and the loner enactment. The three enactments shared the same canon of subcultural resources (music, style, literature, cinema, figurative arts, and others), and yet they differed for relevant aspects as stance to political engagement, forms of socialization, relationship with urban public space, and ultimately forms of identity construction.


Subcultures; Post-subcultures; Enactment; Social Practices; Post-punk


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DOI: 10.6092/issn.1971-8853/9475


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