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

Simone Tosoni

Abstract


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.

Keywords


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

References


Androutsopoulos, J., & Scholz, A. (2003). Spaghetti Funk: Appropriations of Hip-Hop Culture and Rap Music in Europe. Popular Music and Society, 26(4), 463–479. https://doi.org/10.1080/0300776032000144922

Baddeley, G. (2006). Goth Chic: A Connoisseur’s Guide to Dark Culture. London: Plexus.

Baddeley, G. (2010). Goth: Vamps and Dandies. London: Plexus.

Baldini, C. (2010). Dionysus Returns: Contemporary Tuscan Trancers and Euripides’ The Bacchae. In G. St. John (Ed.), The Local Scenes and Global Culture of Psytrance (pp. 170–185). London, New York: Routledge.

Bennett, A. (1999). Subcultures or Neo-Tribes? Rethinking the Relationship between Youth, Style and Musical Taste. Sociology, 33(3), 599–617. https://doi.org/10.1177/S0038038599000371

Bennett A. (2005). In Defence of Neo-tribes: A Response to Blackman and Hesmondhalgh. Journal of Youth Studies, 8(2), 255–259. https://doi.org/10.1080/13676260500149402

Bennett A. (2011). The Post-Subcultural Turn: Some Reflections 10 Years On. Journal of Youth Studies, 14(5), 493–506. https://doi.org/10.1080/13676261.2011.559216

Bennett A. (2015). Australian Subcultures: Reality or Myth? In S. Baker, B. Robards, & B. Buttigieg (Eds.), Youth Cultures and Subcultures: Australian Perspectives (pp. 11–20). Farnham: Ashgate.

Blackman S. (2005). Youth Subcultural Theory: A Critical Engagement with the Concept, its Origins and Politics, from the Chicago School to Postmodernism. Journal of Youth Studies, 8(1), 1–20. https://doi.org/10.1080/13676260500063629

Bottà, G. (2012). Articulating Punk in an Industrial City: Turin and the Collettivo Punx Anarchici in the Early 1980s. United Academics Journal of Social Sciences, 2(12), 34–48.

Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. London: Routledge.

Bourdieu, P. (1998). Practical Reason. On the Theory of Action. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Branch, A. (2014). “Stop Flexing Your Roots, Man”: Reconversion Strategies, Consecrated Heretics and the Violence of UK First-Wave Punk. Punk & Post-Punk, 3(1), 21–39. https://doi.org/10.1386/punk.3.1.21_1

Brill, D. (2007). Gender, Status and Subcultural Capital in the Goth Scene. In P. Hodkinson, & W. Deicke (Eds.), Youth Cultures: Scenes, Subcultures and Tribes (pp. 111–128). New York: Taylor & Francis.

Brill, D. (2008). Goth Culture: Gender, Sexuality and Style. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Brubaker, R. (1996). Nationalism Reframed: Nationhood and the National Question in the New Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Butler, J. (1993). Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex”. New York & London: Routledge.

Dale, P. (2012). Anyone Can Do It: Empowerment, Tradition and the Punk Underground. Burlington: Ashgate.

De Sario, B. (2009). Resistenze Innaturali: Attivismo Radicale nell’Italia degli Anni ’80. Milano: Agenzia X.

De Sario, B. (2012). Cambiamento Sociale e Attivismo Giovanile nell’Italia degli Anni Ottanta: Il Caso dei Centri Sociali Occupati e Autogestiti. Cahiers d’Etudes Italiennes, 14, 117–138. https://doi.org/10.4000/cei.416

Dedman, T. (2011). Agency in UK Hip-Hop and Grime Youth Subcultures — Peripherals and Purists. Journal of Youth Studies, 14(5), 507–522. https://doi.org/10.1080/13676261.2010.549820

Driver, C. (2011). Embodying Hardcore: Rethinking “Subcultural” Authenticities. Journal of Youth Studies, 14(8), 975–990. https://doi.org/10.1080/13676261.2011.617733

van Elferen, I., & Weinstock, J.A. (2016). Goth Music: From Sound to Subculture. New York: Routledge.

Evans, C. (1997). Dreams That Only Money Can Buy… Or, the Shy Tribe in Flight from Discourse. Fashion Theory, 1(2), 169–188. https://doi.org/10.1080/1362704x.1997.11419207

Ferrarotti, F. (2003). On the Science of Uncertainty: The Biographical Method in Social Research. Lanham: Lexington Books.

Frith, S. (1995). The Stockton Conference: Recollections and Commentaries. In W. Straw, S. Johnson, R. Sullivan, & P. Friedlander (Eds.), Popular Music: Style and Identity, Montreal: The Centre for Research on Canadian Cultural Industries and Institutions, iii.

Giddens, A. (1984). The Constitution of Society. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Glaser, B.G., & Strauss, A.L. (1967). The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research. Chicago: Aldine.

Gololobov, I., Pilkington, H., & Steinholt, Y.B. (2014). Punk in Russia: Cultural Mutation from the “Useless” to the “Moronic”. London: Routledge.

Gosling, T. (2004). “Not for Sale”: The Underground Network of Anarcho-Punk. In A. Bennett, & R. Peterson (Eds.), Music Scenes: Local, Translocal, and Virtual, (pp. 168–183). Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.

Goulding, C., & Saren, M. (2009). Performing Identity: An Analysis of Gender Expressions at the Whitby Goth Festival. Consumption Markets & Culture, 12(1), 27–46. https://doi.org/10.1080/10253860802560813

Gray, M. (2010). From Canon to Fanon and Back Again: The Epic Journey of Supernatural and Its Fans. Transformative Works and Cultures, 4. https://doi.org/10.3983/twc.2010.0146

Guerra, P., & Moreira, T. (Eds.). (2017). Keep It Simple, Make it Fast! An Approach to Underground Music Scenes, (Vol. 3). Porto: Universidade do Porto.

Haenfler, R. (2006). Straight Edge: Clean-living Youth, Hardcore Punk, and Social Change. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

Hall, S., & Jefferson, T. (Eds.) (1976). Resistance through Rituals. Youth Subcultures in Post-War Britain. Hutchinson: London.

Hannerz, E. (2015). Performing Punk. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Healey, K., & Fraser, L. (2017). A Common Darkness: Style and Spirituality in Goth Subculture. Journal of Popular Music Studies, 29(3), 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1111/jpms.12231

Hebdige, D. (1979). Subculture, the Meaning of Style. London: Methuen.

Hellekson, K., & Busse, K. (2006). Introduction. In K. Hellekson, & K. Busse (Eds.), Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet: New Essays. Jefferson: McFarland.

Hesmondhalgh, D. (2005). Subcultures, Scenes or Tribes? None of the Above. Journal of Youth Studies, 8(1), 21–40. https://doi.org/10.1080/13676260500063652

Hodkinson, P. (2002). Goth: Identity, Style, and Subculture. Oxford & New York: Berg.

Hodkinson, P. (2003). “Net.Goth”: Internet Communication and (Sub)Cultural Boundaries. In D. Muggleton, & R. Weinzierl (Eds.), The Post-Subcultures Reader (pp. 285–298). Oxford & New York: Berg.

Hodkinson P. (2016). Youth Cultures and the Rest of Life: Subcultures, Post-Subcultures and Beyond. Journal of Youth Studies, 19(5), 629–645. https://doi.org/10.1080/13676261.2015.1098778

Hui, A., Schatzki, T., & Shove, E. (2017). Introduction. In A. Hui, T. Schatzki, & E. Shove (Eds.), The Nexus of Practices: Connections, Constellations, Practitioners (pp. 1–7). New York: Routledge.

Law, J., & Lien, M.E. (2013). Slippery: Field Notes in Empirical Ontology. Social Studies of Science, 43(3), 363–378. https://doi.org/10.1177/0306312712456947

Leblanc, L. (1999). Pretty in Punk: Girls’ Gender Resistance in a Boys’ Subculture. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

Leow, H.M.A. (2011). Subverting the Canon in Feminist Fan Fiction: Concession. Transformative Works and Cultures, 7. https://doi.org/10.3983/twc.2011.0286

Liebler, R., & Chaney, K. (2007). Canon vs. Fanon: Folksonomies of Fan Culture. MIT Media in Transition, 5.

Lien, M.E., & Law, J. (2011). “Emergent Aliens”: On Salmon, Nature, and Their Enactment. Ethnos, 76(1), 65–87. https://doi.org/10.1080/00141844.2010.549946

Lohman, K. (2017). The Connected Lives of Dutch Punks: Contesting Subcultural Boundaries. London: Palgrave.

Magaudda, P. (2009). Ridiscutere le Sottoculture. Resistenza Simbolica, Postmodernismo, Disuguaglianze Sociali. Studi Culturali, 6(2), 301–314.

nMiles S. (2000). Youth Lifestyles in a Changing World. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Moore, R. (2004). Postmodernism and Punk Subculture: Cultures of Authenticity and Deconstruction. The Communication Review, 7(3), 305–327. https://doi.org/10.1080/10714420490492238

Moore, R. (2010). Sells Like Teen Spirit: Music, Youth Culture, and Social Crisis. New York, London: NYU Press.

Mudu, P., & Piazza, G. (2016). Not Only Riflusso: The Repression and Transformation of Radical Movements in Italy between 1978 and 1985. In K. Andresen, & B. van der Steen (Eds.), A European Youth Revolt: European Perspectives on Youth Protest and Social Movements in the 1980s (pp. 112–126). London: Palgrave.

Muggleton, D. (2000). Inside Subculture: The Postmodern Meaning of Style. Oxford & New York: Berg.

Muggleton, D., & Weinzierl, R. (2003). What is “Post-subcultural Studies” Anyway? In D. Muggleton & R. Weinzierl (Eds.), The Post-subcultures Reader (pp. 3–23). Oxford: Berg.

Nacci I. (2018). Cyberpunk e “Decoder.” In Moicana (Ed.), Università della Strada. Mezzo Secolo di Controculture a Milano (pp. 137–150). Milano: Agenzia X.

Newman, J. (2008). Playing with Videogames. London & New York: Routledge.

O’Connor, A. (2002). Local Scenes and Dangerous Crossroads: Punk and Theories of Cultural Hybridity. Popular Music, 21(2), 225–236. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0261143002002143

O’Connor, A. (2003). Punk Subculture in Mexico and the Anti-globalization Movement: A Report from the Front. New Political Science, 25(1), 43–53. https://doi.org/10.1080/0739314032000071226

O’Connor, A. (2004). Punk and Globalization: Spain and Mexico. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 7(2), 175–195. https://doi.org/10.1177/1367877904044252

O’Connor, A. (2008). Punk Record Labels and the Struggle for Autonomy: The Emergence of DIY. Lanham: Lexington Books.

O’Connor, A. (2016). Towards a Field Theory of Punk. Punk & Post Punk, 5(1), 67–81. https://doi.org/10.1386/punk.5.1.67_1

Persello, M. (2016). Peripheral Subcultures. The First Appropriations of Punk in Germany and Italy. In P. Guerra & T. Moreira (Eds.), Keep It Simple, Make It Fast. An approach to Underground Music Scenes, Vol. 2 (pp. 93–98). Porto: Universidade do Porto.

Piano, D. (2003). Resisting Subjects: DIY Feminism and the Politics of Style in Subcultural Production. In D. Muggleton & R. Weinzierl (Eds.), The Post-Subcultures Reader (pp. 253–265). Oxford: Berg.

Postill, J. (2010). Introduction: Theorising Media and Practice. In B. Bräuchler, & J. Postill (Eds.), Theorising Media and Practice (pp. 1–32). New York & Oxford: Berghahn Books.

Powell, A. (2007). God’s Own Medicine: Religion and Parareligion in U.K. Goth Culture. In M. Bibby & L.M.E. Goodlad (Eds.), Goth: Undead Subculture (pp. 357–374). Durham, London: Duke University Press.

Reckwitz, A. (2002). Toward a Theory of Social Practices: A Development in Culturalist Theorizing. European Journal of Social Theory, 5(2), 243–263. https://doi.org/10.1177/13684310222225432

Scharf, N. (2011). Worldwide Gothic: A Chronicle of a Tribe. Shropshire: Independent Music Press.

Schatzki, T.R. (1996). Social Practices. A Wittgensteinian Approach to Human Activity and the Social. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Schatzki, T.R. (2001). Introduction. Practice Theory. In T.R. Schatzki, K. Knorr-Cetina, & E. von Savigny (Eds.), The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory (pp. 10–23). London: Routledge.

Schatzki, T.R. (2002). The Site of the Social: A Philosophical Account of the Constitution of Social Life and Change. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.

Schatzki, T.R. (2012). A Primer on Practices. Theory and Research. In J. Higgs, R. Barnett, S. Billett, M. Hutchings, & F. Trede (Eds.), Practice-Based Education: Perspectives and Strategies (pp. 13–26). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Schatzki, T.R., Knorr-Cetina, K., & Savigny, E. von (Eds.). (2001). The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory. London: Routledge.

Shildrick, T., & MacDonald, R. (2006). In Defence of Subculture: Young People, Leisure and Social Divisions. Journal of Youth Studies, 9(2), 2006, 125–140. https://doi.org/10.1080/13676260600635599

Shove, E., Pantzar, M., & Watson, M. (2012). The Dynamics of Social Practice: Everyday Life and How It Changes. London: Sage.

Spracklen, K., & Spracklen, B. (2018). The Evolution of Goth Culture: The Origins and Deeds of the New Goths. Bingley: Emerald.

Stahl, G. (2003). Tastefully Renovating Subcultural Theory: Making Space for a New Model. In D. Muggleton & R. Weinzierl (Eds.), The Post-Subcultures Reader (pp. 27–40). Oxford: Berg.

Straw, W. (1991). Systems of Articulation, Logics of Change: Communities and Scenes in Popular Music. Cultural Studies , 5(3), 368–388. https://doi.org/10.1080/09502389100490311

Thompson, S. (2012). Punk Productions: Unfinished Business. Albany: SUNY Press.

Thornton, S. (1995). Club Cultures: Music, Media and Subcultural Capital. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Tosoni, S. (2015). Subculture Giovanili, in Italia Terra Incognita. Vita & Pensiero, 3, 114–119.

Tosoni, S. (2015b). Not Real Punx, but Kindred Creatures (Creature Simili): Enacting Dark in Milan, Italy. Paper presented at Keep It Simple, Make It Fast! Crossing Borders of Underground Music Scenes, Porto, Portugal, 15–17 July 2015.

Tosoni, S. (2017). Of Goths and Salmons: A Practice-Based Exploration of Subcultural Enactments in 1980s Milan. In P. Guerra & T. Moreira (Eds.), Keep it Simple, Make it Fast! An Approach to Underground Music Scenes, Vol. 3 (pp. 279–288). Universidade do Porto: Porto.

Tosoni, S., & Turrini, V. (2018) Controlled Disconnections: A Practice-Centred Approach to Media Activities in Women's Solo Travelling. In L. Peja, N. Carpentier, F. Colombo, M.F. Murru, S. Tosoni, R. Kilborn, L. Kramp, R. Kunelius, A. McNicholas, H. Nieminen, & P. Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt (Eds.), Current Perspectives on Communication and Media Research (pp. 283–302). Bremen: Edition Lumière.

Tosoni, S., & Zuccalà, E. (2013). Creature Simili. Il Dark a Milano negli Anni ’80. Milano: Agenzia X.

Tosoni, S., & Zuccalà, E. (forthcoming). Italian Goth Subculture — Kindred Creatures and Other Dark Enactments in Milan, 1982–1991. London: Palgrave.

Wallach, J. (2008). Living the Punk Lifestyle in Jakarta. Ethnomusicology, 52(1), 98–116.

Welch, D., & Warde, A. (2017). How Should We Understand “General Understandings”?. In A. Hui, T. Schatzki, & E. Shove (Eds.), The Nexus of Practices: Connections, Constellations, Practitioners (pp. 183–196). New York: Routledge.

Williams, J.P. (2007). Youth-Subcultural Studies: Sociological Traditions and Core Concepts. Sociology Compass, 1(2), 572–593. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-9020.2007.00043.x

Woodman D. & Wyn J. (2015). Holding It All Together: Researching Time, Culture and Belonging after “Subcultures”. In S. Baker, B. Robards, and B. Buttigieg (Eds.), Youth Cultures and Subcultures: Australian Perspectives (pp. 43–52). Farnham: Ashgate.

Woolgar, S., & Lezaun, J. (2013). The Wrong Bin Bag: A Turn to Ontology in Science and Technology Studies? Social Studies of Science, 43(3), 321–340. https://doi.org/10.1177/0306312713488820

Wright, S. (2000). “A Love Born of Hate”: Autonomist Rap in Italy. Theory, Culture & Society, 17(3), 117–135. https://doi.org/10.1177/02632760022051257




DOI: 10.6092/issn.1971-8853/9475

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Copyright (c) 2019 Simone Tosoni

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.