Emo online: networks of sociality/networks of exclusion
This article examines Australian emo subcultural practices and new media technologies. I use subcultural studies to analyse whether emo is, indeed, a subculture. I respond to framings of emo as an ‘Other’ (sub)culture, in mainstream Australian media and Australian alternative music scenes. I interrogate whether, as dominant media claims, emo subculturalists’ internet usage inevitably leads to ‘social alienation’. First, I present a case study of a mediatized moral panic concerning the so called ‘emo suicides’ of Jodie Gater and Stephanie Gestier in 2007. Media reports positioned emo adherents as non-normative ‘dark’ users of new technologies, particularly the internet. I counter this representation with a textual analysis of emo micro media, in the form of MySpace homepages, which demonstrate emo sociality online. However, in my final section I look at how such sociality is limited by gate-keeping practices mobilizing discourses of subcultural capital.
Keywords: emo, cultural studies, ethnography, subcultures, youth cultures, media studies
Research Type: Journal Article