Heavy Metal Youth Identities: Researching the Musical Empowerment of Youth Transitions and Psychosocial Wellbeing

Paula Rowe
University of South Australia, Australia

Product Details
01 Oct 2018
Emerald Publishing Limited
192 pages - 152 x 229mm
Emerald Studies in Metal Music and Culture
Heavy Metal Youth Identities critically examines the significance of heavy metal music and culture in the everyday lives of metal youth. Historically, young metal fans have been portrayed in popular and academic literature as delinquent, mentally unwell, demotivated, and destined for low-achieving futures and poor educational outcomes. So why would young people sign up for this? What’s the specific appeal of metal, and why start embodying a metal identity that others can see and know? And is metal really such a problem for youth development, as some have speculated?  
To explore these questions, this book draws on narrative research with metal youth that invited them to reflect, in their own words, on the role of metal in their everyday lives. They share their early memories of forming a metal identity during high school years and ways that metal helped them cope with things like bullying, bereavement and challenging family circumstances. They also give us rare insight into ways that metal influenced (and even assisted) their transitions through education and career paths post-school. 
This book highlights ways that youth workers, educators and parents can work positively to support young people forming subcultural identities and capitalise on their unique strengths and skill-sets. As the globalisation of youth cultures continues to expand against the backdrop of a changing workforce, it is crucial that we learn how to better facilitate the preferred pathways of young people with interests that might be considered 'against the grain' by normative standards. This book takes us a step forward in that direction.
1. Introduction 
Part One: Becoming Metal 
2. "Metal is my drug": The Comforts and Pleasures of Listening to Metal 
3. "It's true, metal gives you power when you're powerless": Embodying Metal Identities for Social Protection 
4. "That sense of metal community is great": Narrative Constructions of Acceptance and Belonging 
Part Two: Being Metal 
5. "No shit I wanna be a rock star, but for real you need a Plan B": Heavy Metal Dreams Reprised 
6. "Dude, you're doing it, you're living the dream": From Dreams to Reality, What Does it Take? 
7. "Mum hates it, she thinks all metal dudes are evil": Practical Wisdom for Parents and Others 
8. "It Sucks That People Get the Wrong Idea About Metal": Concluding Remarks
Paula Rowe, PhD, is a Social Work scholar at the School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy, University of South Australia. She is on the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal Metal Music Studies.
"Few people in the world are better qualified to study the significance of heavy metal to youth than Paula Rowe. The book is crucial for scholars in those areas as well as a great read for metalheads themselves, and their parents." - Deena Weinstein, Professor of Sociology, DePaul University, USA

"Rowe’s book is beautifully written and meticulous in detail, her perspectives on heavy metal and its everyday meanings for young people are highly compelling." - Andy Bennett, Professor of Cultural Sociology, Griffith University, Australia

"With care and compassion, Rowe shows us how marginalized young people fight back through community and culture, forging positive alternative identities through metal music and subculture." - Donna Gaines, PhD, author of 'Teenage Wasteland', 'A Misfit’s Manifesto', and 'Why the Ramones Matter'

"Engaging and original, this is an invaluable contribution to understandings of the relationship between subcultures and the rest of life." - Paul Hodkinson, Reader in Sociology, University of Surrey, UK

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