Notions of ‘Us’ and ‘Them’: Markers of Stratification in clubbing lifestyles

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24 Citations (Scopus)


This article discusses the routine ways in which young people call on material, cultural and interactional resources to assemble typifications in dance club cultures. These constructs highlight the divisions and distinctions that illustrate what Hollands (2002) calls the structuration of youth cultures. My findings suggest that in elective cultural groups such as clubbers, notions of ‘us and them’ are present; these are related to the process of ‘becoming a clubber’. These processes and practices are not just associated with cultural taste, but also cultural knowledge. In order to conceptualise these findings I look to various theoretical frameworks that have been used to understand the lives of young people in relation to their lifestyles, cultural groups, capitals and identities. I discuss the utility of such frameworks, as well as the concepts that have been used to understand club culture itself. My analysis drew me to the work of Schutz (1967, 1970a, 1970b, 1973, 1976; Schutz & Luckmann 1974); this work helped illuminate the ways in which young people constructed typifications and cultural boundaries that were illustrative of their identification with and differentiation from ‘others’. I outline some of the central notions found in the work of Schutz and illustrate how these were used in the analytic process. I suggest that the work of Schutz can be used in conjunction with the concept of social capital, the concept of lifestyle and symbolic interactionism to take account of the role of social divisions and status inequalities in lifestyle ‘choices’ and cultural affiliations of young people. The article concludes by suggesting that many of the study participants used knowledge in constructing ‘otherness’ as a powerful means of identification and differentiation, inclusion and exclusion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-71
JournalJournal of Youth Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


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