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Keywords:

  • Subculture;
  • identity;
  • ageing;
  • community;
  • goth;
  • adulthood

Abstract

This article explores the continuing involvement in youth music and style cultures of older participants through examination of the case study of the goth scene. It does so in the context of a widespread neglect, until recently, of what happens to participants of ‘youth cultures’ as they move beyond adolescence and also of a growing consensus about the broadening of youth itself as a life course period. Drawing on recent work on older participants in other music and style related groupings, the article uses original qualitative research to examine the developing lives and identities of goths as they become older. Rather than regarding continuing participation as a simple extension of youth, the focus is on the ways participation accompanied and was reconciled with material, domestic and physical elements of developing adult lives. Through reference to the case study, I emphasize the ways the experience of ageing for long-term music and style culture participants can constitute a collective experience.