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'I am not a goth!': The Unspoken Morale of Authenticity within the Dutch Gothic Subculture

Agnes Jasper
Etnofoor
Vol. 17, No. 1/2, AUTHENTICITY (2004), pp. 90-115
Published by: Stichting Etnofoor
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25758070
Page Count: 26
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'I am not a goth!': The Unspoken Morale of Authenticity within the Dutch Gothic Subculture
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Abstract

Notions of authenticity and identity in Dutch gothic subculture focus on the paradox of being a subcultural insider, i.e. being simultaneously an individual and a member of a homogenous group. This paradox also triggers the problem of authentic identity. Gothic insiders emphasize that they are not goths, but that they identify with what they describe as gothic, only to explain later that that is not authentic gothic. I will argue that this denial is a subcultural strategy, a way to 'ward off' classificatory strategies of dominant, non-subcultural culture. Namely, as soon as criteria for sub-cultural identity are conceptualised, they can be copied by outsiders, and this should preferably be avoided. Empirical material will display how gothic subcultural identity is practiced within the monitoring and conceptualising processes prompted by outsiders like the media, and how authenticity seems to be a void, nothing but an abstract, unspoken, sub-cultural morale.

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