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Evaluate the account of club culture offered by Thornton.

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Introduction

Evaluate the account of club culture offered by Thornton. Sarah Thornton's account of club culture was written in 1995 during the final stages of the peak of the 'Acid house' cultural movement in the UK. The 'madchester' scene of raves and parties especially at the famous Hacienda nightclub were all but finished and the seminal new wave of drug influenced bands such as the Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays were beginning to feel the toll of there expressive lifestyles. The rave scene was becoming mainstream and the moral panics associated with ecstasy were becoming 'old news' for the newspapers to report on. I want to in this writing look at exactly what Sarah Thornton was trying to express in her writing on club culture, the theories and findings it expressed and then attempt to evaluate them, and assess an opinion on its findings and whether they are conclusive or if the study is now dated. To evaluate the study I will identify what I feel the key points are in my view and analyze them, either agreeing or disagreeing with her view, today this I will be using my own experiences to some extent, and writings by other people on club culture. Many of the texts available on the topic of dance and club culture tend to focus on the moral panics created by the scene and especially the use of intoxicants such as ecstasy. Sarah Thornton's account of club culture however looks more so at the topic of subcultures, and specifically the topic of subculture capital, and how the status of the youth within the club scene was affected by the possession of this capital. ...read more.

Middle

he uses his work to signify the that the 'consumption of 'high' art displays 'ease', which is freedom allowed by surplus of money'. Here Redhead is using the quote to say that the dress sense used by ravers is not one of conscious choice, but practical and affordable, and wasn't chosen to pose a threatening image. This comment on the subculture capital gained from the dress code of 'hip' contradicts Thornton. Thornton was saying that ravers wanted to dress a certain way, in order to be hip. Redhead is saying they dress this way due to practicality and cost. I feel that both sides of the argument are correct. Thornton's case is but forward by the fact 'if you try to hard to impress you are not cool' so the slack dress code of baggy clothes are worn. This is true as the stereotypical image, given by Redhead (1995) states those baggy clothes and bright colors are the appearance of a raver. But he argues the case that this is the case due to practicality as 'Not only the lack of finance, but also the intensive dancing and the use of the drug ecstasy determined the style. It makes a person sweat so baggy cotton clothing is the most comfortable to wear'. The idea of Thornton's lack class structures is backed up Toynbee (2000) he argues that dance music has its own form of social organization, with a flat subculture network. He also uses a quote from Phillip Tag, saying that the flattening of hierarchies within dance music so it contains plenty of small figures. ...read more.

Conclusion

I have compared the ideas and findings, which she discovered against other publications on the subject, and have found a mixed response in their affiliation and co-ordnance with her findings. The key point which I have come to notice about Thornton's account of club culture is that it is often critical, and negative towards the club scene. She takes an elitist stand point, looking at the club seen as merely a fad which involves people leering after the subcultural capital in order to fit into the rave scene. She denotes them as being classless and oppositional to the mainstream using dress codes and behaviors to shock as well as using the drug element to purposely create a moral panic. This was especially evident in her distinction that the club scene had no distinct class structure or hierarchy, which may not have been the case when the study was written but in today's club scene, as discussed by both McKay (1996) and Redhead (1995) class structures are evident in the club scene, mainly through mainstream elements. In a culture where many of the club goers and organizers are most likely disenchanted with their place in the mainstream the subculture of underground dance clubs is a place to forget their standing in life, a place to excel on the subcultures terms, unfettered by traditional values. The maintenance of the culture is only possible with the barriers discussed. Thornton illustrates that the underground dance club scene subculture has an extremely exclusive nature supported by three distinct types of barriers, Physical, informational, and socioeconomic. ...read more.

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