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Subjectivity In American popular metal: contemporary gothic, the body, the grotesque, and the child

Thomas, Sara Ann (2009) Subjectivity In American popular metal: contemporary gothic, the body, the grotesque, and the child. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the subject in Popular American Metal music and culture during the period 1994-2004, concentrating on key artists of the period: Korn, Slipknot, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Tura Satana and My Ruin. Starting from the premise that the subject is consistently portrayed as being at a time of crisis, the thesis draws on textual analysis as an under appreciated approach to popular music, supplemented by theories of stardom in order to examine subjectivity. The study is situated in the context of the growing area of the contemporary gothic, and produces a model of subjectivity specific to this period: the contemporary gothic subject. This model is then used throughout to explore recurrent themes and richly symbolic elements of the music and culture: the body, pain and violence, the grotesque and the monstrous, and the figure of the child, representing a usage of the contemporary gothic that has not previously been attempted. Attention is also paid throughout to the specific late capitalist American cultural context in which the work of these artists is situated, and gives attention to the contradictions inherent in a musical form which is couched in commodity culture but which is highly invested in notions of the ‘Alternative’. In the first chapter I propose the model of the contemporary gothic subject for application to the work of Popular Metal artists of the period, drawing on established theories of the contemporary gothic and Michel Foucault’s theory of confession. The second chapter focuses on instances of violence to the body and the recurrent themes of pain and violence, which are explained through the model of corporeal verification and consensual violence. In the third chapter I explore the contemporary gothic subject in the tradition of the grotesque and the monstrous, drawing on theories of the gothic monster, to suggest that the subject is engaged in a negotiation of the boundaries between self and other. The fourth chapter concentrates on the figure of the child, drawing on theories of horror film and fiction and the tradition of the Evil Innocent and the Gothic child. The final chapter is a case study of Marilyn Manson, exploring his role as a paradigmatic example of contemporary gothic subjectivity.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Contemporary gothic, gothic, popular music, subjectivity, grotesque, child, children, body, nu-metal, popular metal, korn, slipknot, marilyn manson, tura satana, my ruin, metal, lyrics, america
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PS American literature
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Theatre Film and TV Studies
College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Supervisor's Name: Lury, Dr. Karen and Kolocotron, Dr. V.
Date of Award: 2009
Depositing User: Miss Sara Ann Thomas
Unique ID: glathesis:2009-644
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2009
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:20
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/644

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