Macquarie University
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Pale communion: whiteness, masculinity and nationhood in heavy metal scenes in Norway, South Africa and Australia

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posted on 2022-03-28, 23:40 authored by Catherine Sheilagh Hoad
In response to the current dynamics of the Global Metal model, this thesis draws attention to how whiteness maintains an invisibilised instrumental hegemony within heavy metal, even as research on the genre continues to grow. I address the complex problem of how whiteness is represented in heavy metal scenes and practices, both as a site of academic inquiry and force of cultural significance. I argue that the whiteness and white heteromasculinity of heavy metal emerges in disparate locales as expressions of distinct nationalist projects. This research addresses the national specificity with which whiteness is valorised in heavy metal scenes, and how disparate national identities are tacitly and explicitly tied to white heteromasculine identity. This research maps the matrix of whiteness, masculinity and nationhood through which heavy metal scenes across Norway, South Africa and Australia have produced and defended national identity. I distinguish three key forms of white nationalism-Norway's monstrous nationalism, in which the nation is constructed as terrifying and atavistic; South Africa's resistant nationalism, which responds to post-Apartheid claims of white victimhood; and Australia's banal nationalism, which consecrates mundanity as an authentic national condition. Such constellations of whiteness, masculinity and nationhood have enabled tacit and explicit constructions of exclusionary communities formed through collective memory and territory. These scenes are demonstrative of the ways in which white inflections inform the practices of both heavy metal scenes and the specifically local whitenesses manifest within them.


Table of Contents

Introduction. Tonight is a white thing -- Chapter 1. The sound of white noise : literature review -- Chapter 2. Black metal is for white people: monstrous nationalism in Norwegian black and Viking metal scenes -- Chapter 3. Nobody wants to be a pale male in the new South Africa: territories of whiteness and resistant nationalism in Afrikaans heavy metal -- Chapter 4. We are the foundations of this modern land: normophilic whiteness and banal nationalism in Australian extreme metal -- Chapter 5. My blood line stays pure with my own kind: translocal terrains of whiteness across Norway, South Africa and Australia -- Conclusion. Beyond the pale.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 265-297

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies

Department, Centre or School

Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Ian Collinson


Copyright Catherine Sheilagh Hoad 2016. Copyright disclaimer:




Norway South Africa Australia


1 online resource (299 pages) colour illustrations

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