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Mr Giuseppe Zevolli

Former student

Start date at Kings: 1/10/2013

End date: 1/05/2018

Department

Research interests

Current Research

What Alternative? Indie Music and Subcultural Capital in The Digital Era

My research engages with debates in cultural sociology, cultural and popular music studies interested in the complex dynamics behind the construction of music taste and its contested role in the formation of both individual and collective identities. If, as it has been argued, "there is very little material on the everyday evaluation of culture in sociology and cultural studies, and still less on music" (Hesmondhalgh 2007: 515), this study aspires to contribute to existing research by focusing on the changing patterns of identification and distinction advocated by individuals who identify with 'alternative' or 'independent' music in the UK, and London more specifically. Congregating (off and online) on the basis of shared taste, the consumption of media and musical products, alternative music scenes can be conceived as "taste cultures" (Thornton 1995), encompassing different sub-genres and supported by an overarching and largely contested ideological framework of 'edginess' and 'independence' which finds in the nebulous concept of 'mainstream' its constitutive other. The concept of 'subcultural capital' (Thornton 1995) and its associated principle of 'being in the know' are surely more and more complicated to situate in the post-digital landscape, as is their role in bestowing status upon practitioners. Though contested, 'alternative' and 'indie' are still in use and continue to contribute to the formation of subjectivities and markets. Are distinctions between indie and mainstream music still significant to self-identified consumers of the former in the context of digital culture and the 'rise of the cultural omnivore' and, if so, how are such distinctions constructed and maintained)? Focusing on consumers, the study will employ a mixed-method approach combining a number of qualitative methods, including interviews and participant observation.

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