Understanding Dislocal Urban Subcultures: The Example of the Hardcore Scene, from Tokyo and Beyond


  • Alain Mueller University of California, Irvine


hardcore, punk, subculture, globalization, network


This article examines, through several ethnographic examples taken from my empirical multi-sited fieldwork, the logics and the mechanisms of the global circulation of a specific music-based "youth subculture": hardcore punk. More broadly, it proposes a shift of perspective in the examination of similar phenomena by adopting (1) a stance that refuses to consider entities such as "cultural areas", "subcultures", "cultural" and "subcultural identities", "local" and "global" as taken-for-granted analytical concepts, but rather considers them as the result of continual actions by social actors who create and maintain such loci of action; (2) a method that allows us to focus on the mechanisms of circulation themselves rather than on the modalities of "delocalization" and "relocalization", mainly by tracking ideas, conventions, people and material objects. From this perspective and on the basis of my ethnographic material, I demonstrate to what extent and under which modalities the hardcore scene takes the form of a global network bounding different units of social situations.

Author Biography

Alain Mueller, University of California, Irvine

Alain Mueller is a research associate at the Anthropology Institute of the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland. He will be a visiting research associate at the Center for Ethnography at the University of California at Irvine from the Spring 2011.