267.2 “Subgenrification” as a cultural strategy

Thursday, August 2, 2012: 11:00 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Sylvain MARTET , Sociology, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, QC, Canada
Based on interviews made in 2009 with French and Quebecois teenagers, this communication attempts to explore the fragmentation that we can observe on musical genres in youth cultures as a reflexive strategy of social identity construction. Our approach of this phenomenon leads us to focus on two processes: the self-legitimization of practices and tastes through the creation of a specific knowledge and the social conditions of musical discoveries experienced by the teenagers. Willis (1990) showed that young people are always involved in creation and recreation of their own cultural life. Their identities comes from the creative ways in which they discover, exchange and assume their tastes, practices and representations. Through their daily interactions with each other, their families and the medias, teenagers are involved in a process of symbolic exchange that defines continually who they are (France, 2007). This process of rearranging cultural elements explains partly the phenomenon of cultural eclecticism that most of teenagers experiment (Coulangeon, 2011). In the same time, we can observe a multiplication of styles, genres and trends. The strict definition of a cultural group by its appearance can lead some researchers to see youth cultures as many little independent subcultures but in our opinion we are more in front of a complex system of fragmented culture. We claim that the process of "subgenrification" in itself is part of the identity construction of teenagers’ individuality and that this particular process is symptomatic of the cultural global mood.As Bennett (2000) wrote, the construction of the self is heavily linked to the construction of the collective culture in which it'll evolve. Music is more than a part of everyday environment; it's a tool of identity construction. By exploring the way teenagers are building a map of their own tastes, we can graze the global culture in its dynamics.