Research

 

You will find a complete range of our monographs, muti-authored and edited works including peer-reviewed, original scholarly research across the social sciences and aligned disciplines. We publish long and short form research and you can browse the complete Bristol University Press and Policy Press archive of over 1,500 titles.

Policy Press also publishes policy reviews and polemic work which aim to challenge policy and practice in certain fields. These books have a practitioner in mind and are practical, accessible in style, as well as being academically sound and referenced.
 

Books: Research

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This chapter offers a summary and comparison of how scholars approach, contextualize, and embody interpretive practice in contemporary subcultural studies. It first situates the contributions to the volume, noting that they focus predominantly on alternative music and/or youth subcultures. Second, it compares the contributions to the broader literature on subcultures by analyzing a sample of ten publications from 2018 to 2022 that utilize the subculture concept from a variety of disciplines including business and consumer studies, literature and film studies, linguistics, criminology, psychology, sociology, and cultural studies. The chapter organizes the comparison in terms of how contributors and the sampled publications approach, contextualize, and embody interpretive practice, noting overlaps, cleavages, and gaps. It concludes by suggesting how globalization has affected the diffusion, but not the defusion, of the subculture concept as it continues to provide important analytical insight into a plethora of cultural phenomena beyond alternative youth and music cultures.

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Distinct, non-normative, and marginal cultures, often encapsulated under the umbrella term ‘subcultures’, continue to be popular topics across the social sciences and humanities. Building on research traditions rooted in the American Chicago School of sociology and the British Birmingham School of cultural studies, this book provides an in-depth look into the interpretive processes through which alternative youth and music subcutures are studied. By explicitly focusing on interpretation as a process that underlies the construction, demarcation, and anlaysis of subcultural phenomena, the book brings meaning-making to the foreground. The book is organized into four parts. The first part focuses on overarching conceptual issues related to the interpretation of subcultural phenomena today, such as whether or how scholars approach phenomena as subcultural or not, and how they develop and deploy concepts that may support, expand, or traditional subcultural theory. The second part shifts attention to the importance of context—whether historic, political, economic, and/or technological—for making sense of contempoary subcultures around the world. The third part provides a window through which to view how interpretive practices are embedded within researcher roles and relationships, as well as how the bodies and emotions of participants and scholars alike are key to doing subcultural research. The fourth part provides the conclusion. Together, these parts offer a unique set of insights into the entanglement of researchers’ interpretive practices and the design, analysis, and representation of subcultural phenomena.

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Distinct, non-normative, and marginal cultures, often encapsulated under the umbrella term ‘subcultures’, continue to be popular topics across the social sciences and humanities. Building on research traditions rooted in the American Chicago School of sociology and the British Birmingham School of cultural studies, this book provides an in-depth look into the interpretive processes through which alternative youth and music subcutures are studied. By explicitly focusing on interpretation as a process that underlies the construction, demarcation, and anlaysis of subcultural phenomena, the book brings meaning-making to the foreground. The book is organized into four parts. The first part focuses on overarching conceptual issues related to the interpretation of subcultural phenomena today, such as whether or how scholars approach phenomena as subcultural or not, and how they develop and deploy concepts that may support, expand, or traditional subcultural theory. The second part shifts attention to the importance of context—whether historic, political, economic, and/or technological—for making sense of contempoary subcultures around the world. The third part provides a window through which to view how interpretive practices are embedded within researcher roles and relationships, as well as how the bodies and emotions of participants and scholars alike are key to doing subcultural research. The fourth part provides the conclusion. Together, these parts offer a unique set of insights into the entanglement of researchers’ interpretive practices and the design, analysis, and representation of subcultural phenomena.

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Distinct, non-normative, and marginal cultures, often encapsulated under the umbrella term ‘subcultures’, continue to be popular topics across the social sciences and humanities. Building on research traditions rooted in the American Chicago School of sociology and the British Birmingham School of cultural studies, this book provides an in-depth look into the interpretive processes through which alternative youth and music subcutures are studied. By explicitly focusing on interpretation as a process that underlies the construction, demarcation, and anlaysis of subcultural phenomena, the book brings meaning-making to the foreground. The book is organized into four parts. The first part focuses on overarching conceptual issues related to the interpretation of subcultural phenomena today, such as whether or how scholars approach phenomena as subcultural or not, and how they develop and deploy concepts that may support, expand, or traditional subcultural theory. The second part shifts attention to the importance of context—whether historic, political, economic, and/or technological—for making sense of contempoary subcultures around the world. The third part provides a window through which to view how interpretive practices are embedded within researcher roles and relationships, as well as how the bodies and emotions of participants and scholars alike are key to doing subcultural research. The fourth part provides the conclusion. Together, these parts offer a unique set of insights into the entanglement of researchers’ interpretive practices and the design, analysis, and representation of subcultural phenomena.

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In this chapter, I continue and critically contextualize the subculture versus post-subculture debates using my long- term study of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Indonesian musicians by investigating the dynamic meaning of music subculture across their different career stages and its interlinkages with the changing socio-historical and cultural context. This research followed a change toward empirical work, rather than relying heavily on the polished theoretical discussions as suggested by the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies. The life stories of four DIY musicians reveal the ambiguous character of subcultural careers amidst everyday political-economic realities in Indonesia. During the amateur stage, DIY Indonesian musicians interpret music subculture as a space to accumulate valuable forms of material and symbolic skills suitable to build and develop into professional careers. During the professional stage, DIY Indonesian musicians interpret music subculture as a space to maintain sustainability of their music career under the uncertain and risky conditions of the culture industry. The narratives of DIY Indonesian musicians unveil the everyday politics of the post-Reform era which I described as the politics of ‘survival of the fittest’ with ambiguous qualities.

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Distinct, non-normative, and marginal cultures, often encapsulated under the umbrella term ‘subcultures’, continue to be popular topics across the social sciences and humanities. Building on research traditions rooted in the American Chicago School of sociology and the British Birmingham School of cultural studies, this book provides an in-depth look into the interpretive processes through which alternative youth and music subcutures are studied. By explicitly focusing on interpretation as a process that underlies the construction, demarcation, and anlaysis of subcultural phenomena, the book brings meaning-making to the foreground. The book is organized into four parts. The first part focuses on overarching conceptual issues related to the interpretation of subcultural phenomena today, such as whether or how scholars approach phenomena as subcultural or not, and how they develop and deploy concepts that may support, expand, or traditional subcultural theory. The second part shifts attention to the importance of context—whether historic, political, economic, and/or technological—for making sense of contempoary subcultures around the world. The third part provides a window through which to view how interpretive practices are embedded within researcher roles and relationships, as well as how the bodies and emotions of participants and scholars alike are key to doing subcultural research. The fourth part provides the conclusion. Together, these parts offer a unique set of insights into the entanglement of researchers’ interpretive practices and the design, analysis, and representation of subcultural phenomena.

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The purpose of this chapter is to consider how the interpretive lens of the (post)subcultural researcher squares with the hefty legacy of the subculture–post-subculture debate—if we are any closer to uncovering more fine-grained insights into the lifeworlds of ‘youth culturalists’ or if we are still in the business of creating these lifeworlds on behalf of youths? The chapter is based on a series of reflections on my own career as a youth culture researcher and an ongoing series of conversations with my son in which the then and now of youth cultures is invariably a topic of discussion. I claim no universal truths in this account. It is instead an opportunity to reassess what myself and other youth researchers have suggested about the nature of youths and their cultures and to ponder all of this in the context of an era where youth culture is as much a historical terminology as something that bespeaks a contemporary status quo for young people.

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This chapter focuses on Chinese punk phenomenon with a de-Westernized subcultural perspective. Concepts of authenticity and resistance are carefully explored and compared in both the Western and Eastern sociocultural contexts. In light of this, we introduce ancient Chinese philosophical frameworks to further interpret the punk resistance and their way of ‘doing nothing’ (wu wei) as a practice. We find that the contemporary punk spirit can be comparable with the Chinese hermit spirituality and lifestyle. Through doing this, it is hoped that our interpretation can form into a Global South stance on the issues of subcultural phenomena and the subsequent theories.

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Approaching, Contextualizing, and Embodying Sense-Making Practices in Alternative Cultures

The concept of ‘subculture’ is an invaluable tool to frame the study of non-normative and marginal cultures for social and cultural scholars.

This international collection uncovers the significance of meaning-making in the processes of defining, studying and analyzing subcultural phenomena.

Examining various dimensions of interpretivism, the book focuses on overarching concerns related to interpretation as well as day-to-day considerations that affect researchers’ and members’ interpretations of subcultural phenomena. It reveals how and why people use specific conceptual frames or methods and how those shape their interpretations of everyday realities.

This is an unprecedented contribution to the field, explaining the interpretive processes through which people make sense of subcultural phenomena.

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The chapter is a joint exploration of Herbert Blumer’s (1954/1969) ‘sensitizing concepts’ as an approach to interpreting our ethnographic studies on youth and subcultures. The key sensitizing concepts we have identified in our work are intimacy, exchange, and friendship. In this chapter we show how we used our research imaginary to establish our sensitizing concepts and how this assists our sociological analysis to make sense of our data and young people’s experiences. We go on to express the importance of sharing these concepts and approaches to interpretation within our pedagogy to support our students with the study of diverse subcultures and teaching of subcultural theory. We contend that sensitizing concepts are important for interpretation because they are the link between observation, data, and theory. Through encouraging a critical dialogue using sensitizing concepts this extends our own knowledge and commits us and others to think reflexively about subculture in new ways when we apply our sociological imagination.

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