Un(su)stained class? : figuring out the identity-politics of heavy metal’s class demographics

Brown, A.R (2016) 'Un(su)stained class? : figuring out the identity-politics of heavy metal’s class demographics.' In: Brown, A.R, Spracklen, K, Kahn-Harris, K and Scott, N.W.R, eds. Global metal music and culture: current directions in metal studies. Routledge, New York, NY, pp. 190-206. ISBN 9781138822382

Official URL: https://www.routledge.com/Global-Metal-Music-and-C...


In this chapter, employing a sociological methodology (class-fraction analysis), I want to re-examine the vexed issue of the class(ed) identity of heavy metal bands and fans. There are two aspects to this. The first is the question of what are the social demographics and class-profile of heavy metal’s core constituency (if there is one): from its origins with bands such as Black Sabbath and their fans; its controversy-ridden commercial hiatus in the 1980s; reformation as an underground of extreme metal scenes in the 1990s; to its current formation as a global metal diaspora of bands, fans and (g)local scenes around the world. The second is the question of what follows from this class profile, in terms of the identity-politics of heavy metal music and its enduring appeal to certain groups of people (despite gender, ethnicity and nationality) and not others. Drawing on all the available data sources, from regional and national studies, surveys, interviews, questionnaires, observations and analysis, compiled by psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, music scholars and ethnographers over the life of the genre, this chapter attempts to resolve the question of the significance of the social class profile of heavy metal and the extent to which it is possible to argue for a clear and consistent relationship – over time, geography and region – between the appeal of heavy metal music and social identities grounded in particular class(ed) cultures or whether it is time to contest, strongly dismiss or reconfigure this claim.

Item Type: Book Chapter or Section

Part of the 'Routledge Studies in Popular Music' series.

Divisions: Bath School of Art, Film and Media
Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2016 08:37
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2022 15:43
URI / Page ID: https://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/8112
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