Pushing Authenticity. Challenging Narratives and Performances on Women’s Subcultural Participation

University essay from Lunds universitet/Sociologi; Lunds universitet/Sociologiska institutionen

Abstract: This thesis examines women’s subcultural participation based on ethnographic fieldwork and 73 interviews with women within the skateboarding and rave cultures. The study explores and develops how we view female participation. From a theoretical perspective, subcultural scholars have a tradition of assuming subcultures as masculine, viewing masculinity as the norm for authenticity. These assumptions have led women and femininity to being marked out as inauthentic and mainly explaining their participation as gender resistance. This viewpoint has affected everything from the research design in general to research questions, methods and the data collection in particular. Revisiting the relations between the subcultural, identity, meanings, authenticity and gender, and viewing subcultures as open for interpretation, this study suggests that subcultures can be constructed as masculine, feminine or neither. The study argues that gender resistance is a small part of subcultural women’s participation. Instead, their participations, identities, authenticities and meanings are constructed around boundary work towards the non-subcultural. It is only through establishing these boundaries that gender resistance can be articulated as meaningful. The methodological strategies and conclusions of this study demonstrate that how we tend to view women’s subcultural participation needs to be reconsidered.

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