Accepted paper:

The clash of goth factions: representations and contests of beauty in the goth scene


Panas Karampampas (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will challenge the normative representations of beauty and present the social fragmentation that is rooted on different tastes for beauty in bodies, music, dance and dress. In that case, goths create sub-scenes and contests between them, showing the significance of beauty in their scene.

Paper long abstract:

Cultural representations and conceptualisations of beauty not only differ amongst different subjectivities and collectivities but in the goth scene they are diverse internally creating a stylistic fragmentation. This paper will challenge not only the normative representations of beauty but will also challenge the belief of the homogeneity of the Goth scene. Goth factions share ideas and attitudes but their heterogeneity of ideas of beauty creates this categorisation in Goth factions or sub-scenes. Beauty in goth differ (in and out of scene) regarding the bodies, music, dance, dress and style. Each individual has unique taste for beauty and appropriates different music, dance and dress that are characterised as goth creating a distinctive style and perform 'gothness' uniquely. Thus, these choices introduce every subject in the most fitting goth faction. Gossip is the main context in which contests of beauty are taking place, digitally and physically; digitally in social media, mainly on Facebook and physically in goth locations like clubs. Every performance of 'gothness' must satisfy specific beauty criteria that are different for every faction and evaluated by fellow goths. However, the individuality in beauty taste makes it particularly multi-layered and fluid, creating complex representations and contests of beauty in the Goth scene.

panel P39
'Alternative' beauty in 'alternative' communities, scenes and subcultures