Fragile scenes, fractured communities: Tunisian Metal and sceneness

Barone, Stefano orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0437-9452 (2016) Fragile scenes, fractured communities: Tunisian Metal and sceneness. Journal of Youth Studies, 19 (1). pp. 20-35. ISSN 1367-6261

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The paper proposes a reshaping of musical and cultural scene as a framework for the study of youth cultures. Developed in the ambit of post-subcultural theories, scene well represents the forces and flaws of such a category: high dynamism and ethnographic richness on one side; vagueness on the other. In order to reduce such vagueness, I conceptualise sceneness, intended as the substance of scenes, their density in networking and infrastructures. I use Arjun Appadurai’s concepts of locality and neighbourhoods to signify, respectively, sceneness and the actual scenes: in this way I redefine scene as a fragile construct that needs to be ritually revived, and that can work as a context for the development of new meanings and social groups. This implies conflict as a central element of scenes, one which can lead them to disequilibrium and disappearance. Such a redefinition is helpful for analysing fragile scenes which struggle to exist in troubled contexts, such as poor and hostile social environments. I provide, as an example, my ethnographic research on Metal in Tunisia. Caught
between idealised images of community and an actual community which was conflictual and ‘fractured’, the Tunisian Metal scene lives a precarious existence threatened by material constraints and cultural marginality.

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