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Heavy Metal as Controversy and Counterculture

Hjelm, T; Kahn-Harris, K; Levine, M; (2011) Heavy Metal as Controversy and Counterculture. Popular Music History , 6 (1-2) pp. 5-18. 10.1558/pomh.v6i1/2.5.

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Social scientific studies of metal music and culture have tended to focus on two distinct aspects of the phenomenon: Firstly, scholars have analysed the social reactions to metal music—especially in the ‘moral panics’ genre. Secondly, the creation and reproduction of different metal subcultures, or ‘scenes’, has been an increasingly popular approach. This article brings together these two aspects of scholarship by arguing that ‘controversy’ is an integral aspect of creating metal ‘countercultures’. That is, the transgressive aspects of metal make it antagonistic in different social contexts—whether or not this is the intention of scene members themselves—and the metal scene is in turn shaped by these controversies. The first part of the article presents a theoretical approach to controversies and examines the meaning of metal as ‘counterculture’ in a globalizing world. The second part discusses how the other articles in this special issue each in their own way contribute to the understanding of metal as controversy and counterculture.

Type: Article
Title: Heavy Metal as Controversy and Counterculture
DOI: 10.1558/pomh.v6i1/2.5
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1558/pomh.v6i1/2.5
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > SSEES
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1407097
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