chapter  30
GOTHIC MUSIC AND SUBCULTURE
ByPaul Hodkinson
Pages 10

The significance of the contemporary Goth music subculture has been the subject of some debate among academics, critics and participants themselves. For some, the Goth scene constitutes merely the latest manifestation of the ongoing broader tradition of Gothic literature, art and culture. Meanwhile, some attempts to understand contemporary Goth by means of textual analysis have concluded that the subculture embodies specific forms of cultural transgression rooted in the history of Gothic. This chapter provides an introduction to a music-and style-based subculture which, I argue, draws selectively upon elements of Gothic literature, art and film, but which – like various other youth music cultures – is centred for the majority of its participants upon the consumption of music and fashion, the enjoyment of a strong sense of shared identity and of socialising with one another at events such as gigs and night clubs. I briefly outline key elements of the style and its history here before considering some of the different ways in which we might make sense of Goth subculture. Specifically, I suggest that it may be mistaken to assume all the details and explanations about the motivations, behaviours and identities of Goths can be found beneath the surface of Goth or indeed Gothic cultural texts.1