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Abstract

For both the heterosexual and queer subject, subcultural participation and stylistic modes of cultural production and consumption, including popular music, are critical mechanisms aiding in the construction and expression of identity. Yet, in spite of abundant empirical examples of queer music cultures, subcultural studies scholars have paid minimal attention to queer sexualities and their concomitant stylistic modalities. In this article, I claim the importance of queer subterranean music cultures by synthesising significant literatures from various fields of inquiry including cultural sociology, popular musicology and queer studies. To begin, I will briefly clarify to whom and about what queer (theory) speaks. I then go on to offer an overview of subcultural and popular music research paying particular attention to the subaltern queer subject and surveying queer criticism within each field. Accordingly, I discuss various sites of popular music production and subcultural style such as punk and hip-hop, to show how non-heterosexual subjects carve space for resistant queer sexualities and merge queer sensibilities with pre-existing cultural forms. This article consolidates interdisciplinary approaches that will benefit scholars invested in the study of queer subcultures and popular music.