My research project
Youth Culture, Music, and Resistance: A Qualitative Investigation of the Punk and Electronic Music Scenes of Bucharest
Within the past forty years, the field of cultural sociology has been marked by a theoretical clash between modern and postmodern views on how oppositionality and resistance can take shape inside non-normative youth groups called subcultures. In line with the wider goal of enriching subcultural theory through overcoming this conflict, my thesis consisted of an in-depth examination of the way in which young members of the contemporary punk and electronic music communities of Bucharest articulate and express subcultural resistance through their music-centred narratives and practices.
Using extracts from 27 qualitative, semi-structured interviews and field notes from 22 participant observation sessions collected in situ between March and October of 2018, the study argued that these young people construct complex, multi-dimensional, and multi-faceted systems of resistance which encompass two distinct, interdependent levels – discursive and practical. In this context, it also argued that the coexistence and complementarity of a set of diverse and conscious articulations of disaffection support the case for the subversive potential of music and music-mediated social interaction.
The contributions of the thesis to the sociology of youth culture are both empirical and theoretical. From an empirical point of view, it offers insights into a previously unexplored socio-geographical and cultural space whose unique evolution calls for more nuanced and context-sensitive analyses of how resistance is reified and what its functions are. On a theoretical level, it introduces a new model of resistance based on the specificity of the targets being resisted by subcultural participants. It proposes a novel framework for studying resistance – one that integrates the innovations of both the modern and postmodern schools of thought, and points to the possibility of formulating a more unified and comprehensive type of subcultural theory.
My broad research interests include youth culture, subcultural theory, urban nightlife, cultural hybridity, the sociology of music, Marxist and post-Marxist sociological perspectives, and the relation between philosophy and sociology. I have previously been awarded a BA with Honours in History and Criminology from the University of Essex in 2012, and an MRes in Social Research from the University of Aberdeen in 2013. Outside of academia, I maintain a long-standing interest in the arts, and have worked as a music writer for Surrey’s Subcultured magazine from October 2016 to May 2017.