Blurred Boundaries - Challenges for the Analysis of Hybridized, Mediated and Glocalized Communities of Interest

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 11:25
Location: Hörsaal 32 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Paul EISEWICHT, Technical University Dortmund, Germany
The field of youth cultures is a highly dynamic reseach field confronting the social scientist with manifold theoretical and methodological challenges. These challanges arise from societal tendencies of modern society - especially the mediatization of social phenomena, the pluralization of cultural affiliations and the glocalization of knowledge.Due to this youth cultures become more dynamic, fluid and harder to grasp. It is not just that due to the history of youth cultures (e.g. Punk is now over 40 years old) adults and teens share the same affiliations, but that cultural knowledge and innovations spread through the internet with such speed that what catches the attention of the researcher may be already obsolete at the time. The methodological questions are centered around the problem to follow these highly dynamic social networks. One question is how the toolbox of social sciences is suited to these changed research fields (e.g. what modes of data collection are 'good' to register and follow emerging youth cultures).

The theoretical question is what concepts are fitting to describe these communities of shared interest we call subculture, youth culture or (youth) scene. Each concept represents a different scientific perspective and each concept has different deficits regarding the current developments. The mediatization of youth cultures leads to the hybridization of former exclusive communities (e.g. 'metalcore' as a hybrid of hardcore and metal or 'indietronic' as a hybrid of guitar-oriented indie and electronic music) - this leads to the question how we as researchers reconstruct the - now more and more blurred - boundaries of these cultural networks.

The main focus of my presentation is the question if our theoretical and methodological tools became blunt for analysing glocalized, hybridized and mediatized social groups with a shared interest. And if so what ways there are to answer these problems.