Accepted Paper:

Hardcore music as social discourse in Taiwan  


Koki Yabuta (National Chengchi University)
Christopher DeLuca (National Chengchi University)

Paper short abstract:

Hardcore music in Taiwan is a social discourse. It is a musical genre created abroad that has been localized. Our ethnographic research sheds light on Taiwan as a marginalized society and on how metal became the voice of a specific group of people ostracized by mainstream society.

Paper long abstract:

This study explores how certain music scenes play a role in the creation of social discourses and movements. Since the advent of democracy in Taiwan, the hardcore music scene has undergone an explosive evolution, replicating and creating many new forms of hardcore music, all offshoots of Western 'metal,' but strikingly different and imbued with a strong sense of local mythology, language, and instrumentation.

In terms of ethnographic research, we have conducted several interviews with musicians in hardcore bands, from a range of styles considered 'metal.' We have experienced the music scene by participating in shows and were involved in the discourse itself.

These new forms of hardcore music have much in common with two other forms of musical social discourse, Jazz and Hip-Hop. They all sprang from an urban setting, but reach back and are strengthened by rural legends and a history of conflict. All three forms of social discourse are the products of groups who had previously experienced intense and violent forms of societal oppression, from slavery to foreign occupation to martial law. All of these forms of social discourse speak with the voices of generations that, although they had overcome prior forms of hyper-oppression, continue to suffer from marginalization and ostracization from mainstream forms of media, government, economy, education, etc. Although the present forms of systematic oppression have lessened, marginalization still occurs, and these marginalized groups have spoken and continue to speak (or sing, or scream) out for equitable treatment.

Panel P114
Anthropology of music, popular music scenes, performance practices and challenges of the present