From Rebellion to Commodification: the Case of Goth

In recent years the traditional neo-Marxist frameworks for conceptualizing subcultures as the catalyst for counter-hegemonic strategies of resistance (Horkheimer and Adorno, 1972; Kellner, 1995; Hebdige, 1979/1997; Frith 1980/1997) have come under challenge. This is largely due to their lack of attention to the fragmented, multi-ethnic, multi-class, non-gendered, and transitory nature of what might be termed ‘postmodern’ subcultures (Bennett, 1999). It is now generally recognized that subcultures are also cultures of consumption (Schouten and McAlexander 1995; Goulding, Shankar and Elliott 2002; Kates 2002; Kozinets 2001, 2002) that involve innovators and the creation of markets, products and services to meet the needs of these markets. Consequently groups that may appear marginal or deviant are worthy of examination as many undergo a process of commodification and ultimately diffusion into mainstream consumer society. This paper focuses on this process. We take as our basis for analysis the ‘Gothic’ subculture, a micro-community that emerged during the late 1970s and continues to flourish in a number of refashioned incarnations today. Goth is a subculture closely associated with the wearing of black, an interest in the ‘darker’ side of life and death, a musical aesthetic and with the cult of the vampire.


Christina Goulding, Mike Saren, and Robin Canniford (2005) ,"From Rebellion to Commodification: the Case of Goth", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 7, eds. Karin M. Ekstrom and Helene Brembeck, Goteborg, Sweden : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 139-140.


Christina Goulding, Wolverhampton University
Mike Saren, Leicester University
Robin Canniford, Exeter University


E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 7 | 2005

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