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Club Cultures
Music, Media, and Subcultural Capital
Sarah Thornton


1996 • 201 pp. 5 illus. 2 figs. 3 charts. 6 x 9"
Music / Cultural Studies / Popular Culture

$22.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6297-5

No sales outside the Americas

“One of the smartest and most audacious pieces of musical sociology in years, Club Cultures anatomizes Britain's turn-of-the-'90s dance scene with the style and sympathy that Dick Hebdige's classic Subculture applied to punk.” —Spin Magazine

A close look at the music and culture of dance clubs and the “rave” phenomenon..

Focusing on youth cultures that revolve around dance clubs and raves in Great Britain and the U.S., Sarah Thornton highlights the values of authenticity and hipness and explores the complex hierarchies that emerge within the domain of popular culture. She portrays club cultures as "taste cultures" brought together by micro-media like flyers and listings, transformed into self-conscious "subcultures" by such niche media as the music and style press, and sometimes recast as "movements" with the aid of such mass media as tabloid newspaper front pages. She also traces changes in the recording medium from a marginal entertainment in the 50s to the clubs and raves of the 90s.

Drawing on the work of Pierre Bourdieu, Thornton coins the term "subcultural capital" to make sense of distinctions made by "cool" youth, noting particularly their disparagement of the "mainstream" against which they measure their alternative cultural worth. Well supported with case studies, readable, and innovative, Club Cultures will become a key text in cultural and media studies and in the sociology of culture.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

”Skipping from discos to acid houses to raves, the world within the scene is dissected by theoretical insight and first hand experience . . . Thornton never falls short on hipster jargon.”—Bikini

“Imagine a book that could be subtitled Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Dance But Didn't Even Know Such Questions Existed.” —Q magazine (three star rating)

“A highly accessible yet rigorously written study of popular culture, with some pertinent points about what clubbing means for the gals . . . An important contribution not only to current media debates, but also that oft overlooked question of club music and gender.” —Everywoman

“A wonderful book, a delight to read, and a real contribution to the literature on popular music and youth culture and to the broader literature of cultural studies and popular culture.”—Lawrence Grossberg, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Sarah Thornton is Lecturer in Media Studies at the University of Sussex and coeditor of The Subcultures Reader (1996).

Thu, 6 Sep 2018 11:04:20 -0500