Postmodern Consumer Culture Brands as resources for identity construction The Performing Self Appearance, display & management of impressions Appearance, display & management of impressions Skilful Performance? Authentic Performance?
Authenticity & Socio-Cultural Theories of Consumption Brand Communities Authentic v inauthentic members Authentic v inauthentic membersNeo-Tribes Authoritative performance and display Authoritative performance and display British Subcultural Theory Mods, Rockers, Punks Mods, Rockers, Punks Style Style
The Embodied Self & Style Style = dress AND how it is worn Body becomes a site for identity Youth subcultures Cool body style of Mods Cool body style of Mods Hard masculinity of Rockers Hard masculinity of Rockers Movement & confidence in that movement were the key to their style Movement & confidence in that movement were the key to their style Ways of moving, walking & talking which are worn like a second skin on the body of the skinhead, punk, raver Ways of moving, walking & talking which are worn like a second skin on the body of the skinhead, punk, raver
The Body The Body Body Techniques mechanical, unreflexive mechanical, unreflexive Bodily Hexis permanent disposition permanent disposition Technologies of the Self transform themselves to attain a certain state of happiness transform themselves to attain a certain state of happiness BodyWork & Materiality The embodied distinction of competent style performances together with fashion products make visible the boundaries of style subcultures The embodied distinction of competent style performances together with fashion products make visible the boundaries of style subcultures
Performance Taste cultures and subcultural capital Authentic displays of cool Authentic displays of cool Style leaders Cool requires bodily expression of ironic detachment Cool requires bodily expression of ironic detachment Face Work: signalling and reading Authentic performance is transmission and reception of culturally appropriate actions Authentic performance is transmission and reception of culturally appropriate actions
Research Questions To what extent do style subcultures express their identities through consumption & display of fashion brands? And also through performative acts? Can members identify a difference between authentic and inauthentic performance of identity?
Ethnographic Methods 8 month study 16-19 yr old students at college in city Range of standard high street branded fashion shops, boutiques, sports & surfing clothing, 2 nd hand (retro), charity clothing Process: Identified Style Leaders & approached directly Identified Style Leaders & approached directly Snowballing through friendship networks Snowballing through friendship networks 18 individuals in multiple interviews 18 individuals in multiple interviews Further 13 in focus groups Further 13 in focus groupsData: Observation Observation Participant observation Participant observation Individual interviews Individual interviews Focus groups Focus groups Video diaries Video diaries
Style Repertoires & Style Codes Material base: Clothing and Store brands, Music bands, Leisure venues Clothing and Store brands, Music bands, Leisure venuesRepertoires Skaters, Punks, Goths, Metallers, Emo-Indie, Grungers Skaters, Punks, Goths, Metallers, Emo-Indie, GrungersSkaters: Baggy Bleubot trousers, DCs, Vans, Raw sports shoes, Baggy Surf-store T-shirt Baggy Bleubot trousers, DCs, Vans, Raw sports shoes, Baggy Surf-store T-shirtMetallers Band T-shit Band T-shit Leather trousers and jacket Leather trousers and jacketShops/Pubs/Clubs H&M! H&M! Dancing (Moshing in the Mosh Pit) Pogo-ing (Goths) Pogo-ing (Goths) Head-banging (Metallers) Head-banging (Metallers) Skanking (Punks) Skanking (Punks)
Authenticity of Style Performance NaturalnessOver-performance Trying too hard Trying too hard Learning through trial and error Supporting the wrong band Supporting the wrong band Subcultural capital Commitment to one micro-style Commitment to one micro-style
BodyWork Skaters: They kind of shuffle, like, kind of because they skate lots…see how theyre like, shuffling along with their hands in their pockets? Thats like the perfect, like surfer/skater boarder walk. Thats how they walk. They always walk as if they havent got anywhere to go, like theyve got no purpose. Theyre not walking anywhere, theyre just walking for fun…they always walk pretty slowly. Like, theyre trying to look as if the only thing that would get them anywhere is their board. Like if they havent got their board then theres no point in going there, because its not fun. They slump, like theyre trying to get as low to the ground as possible, like they do when theyre skating… Chris, Gothy Skater
BodyWork Drum and Bassers: …its like they want to be skaters but they dont… they all do pot, cos theyre always so stoned! Thats what I mean (speaks in monotone voice), I think its because of the pot…they all go to the park and there like 50 of them…they all wear those baggy clothes, like Skater clothes, but theyre into Drum & Bass, but they think theyre like black guys, cos theyre all yeah, smoked spliffs the other day Yeah it was well good Thats how they talk, they all think theyre real cool and they do the monkey walk, you know just like drag along their feet and their shoulders Sophie, Girlie Punk
Conclusion Creative consumers Collective individuality Symbolic project of the self within a micro- cultural context Staged authenticity True authenticity Self –in – between Visual ethnography
Visual Ethnography Photos taken by Researcher 1.As evidence to be interpreted by researcher 2.As an illustration of an insight 3.As stimulus for an interview (photo-elicitation) Photos taken by Informant 4.As evidence to be interpreted by informant (auto- driving) 5.As evidence to be interpreted by informant and researcher together (co-operative inquiry)