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"I am the Dark and the Dark can't bring me down": Community, agency and discourse in the New York City metal scene

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posted on 2022-03-29, 01:22 authored by Erin Lee Young
Metal is a genre that has permeated across national and cultural boundaries, becoming embedded in a multitude of localised meanings and practices through the emergence of local metal scenes. With a dedicated and loyal fan base that has lasted over four decades, metal has become a global genre. This thesis provides an analytical examination of one such locality, that of New York City. This thesis aims to illuminate the role that the metal scene plays in forging a highly integrated, interconnected and interdependent community. The metal scene of New York City is imperative in constructing a sense of self and a sense of being in this world for my informants. It is a community that lies at the forefront of agency and discourse, socialising scene members into particular modes of being, acting and thinking. By analysing the production of meaning in this scene, the relationships between macro and micro processes, and the interactions between the metanarratives and myths of metal and the sociopolitical climate of the United States, I emphasise the distinct way that local scenes manifest themselves in the context of broader cultural forces. This study is guided by three primary goals: to investigate the construction of the self in a highly fractured contemporary cosmopolitan context; to contribute to the dissolution of binary notions of egocentric/sociocentric societies; and, to examine the role that music plays in forging coherent and meaningful life worlds.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Chapter one : The narratives of metal and the narrative self -- Chapter two -- Social bonds and discourse in community -- Chapter three : Lyrics and ideological frameworks -- Chapter four : Transcendence, collective effervescence and gigs -- Conclusion.


Bibliography: pages 55-58 Theoretical thesis.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Anthropology

Department, Centre or School

Department of Anthropology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Banu Senay


Copyright Erin Lee Young 2017 Copyright disclaimer:




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