Commodifying compliance? UK urban music and the new mediascape

Ilan, J. (2014). Commodifying compliance? UK urban music and the new mediascape. Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit, 4(1),

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Abstract

Subcultural theory and cultural criminology have traditionally viewed ‘underground’ youth movements as providing images of deviance/resistance which the cultural industries harvest to turn a profit. The logic follows that street and sub cultures imbue products with a ‘transgressive edge’ that increases their appeal within youth markets. This paper uses the example of UK ‘grime’ music to demonstrate how this dynamic cannot be viewed as applying universally in contemporary times. Where their street orientated content is censured, many grime artistes express a desire for commercial success which would ultimately emerge through muting their rhetorical links to crime and violence and explicitly championing ‘mainstream’ values. This case is used as an empirical cue to explore the use and critique of the concept of ‘resistance’ within cultural criminology and subcultural theory. The paper problematizes commodification of resistance discourses as they apply to the rugged culture of the streets and indeed its supposed ‘oppositional’ character where disadvantaged urban youth clearly embody and practice the logic of neoliberalism. It furthermore suggests that certain critiques of cultural criminology go too far in denying any meaning to criminality and subcultural practice beyond consumer desire. Ultimately, the concept of ‘defiance’ is suggested as a useful tool to understand the norms of and behaviours of the excluded.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2014, The Author
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: School of Social Sciences > Department of Sociology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/16760

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