Social Identity and Political Participation in Clubland
Researchers: Dr Sarah Riley, Prof Christine Griffin, Dr Yvette Morey
Department of Psychology
This project examines social identities and political participation in relation to leisure and consumption, using dance culture as an example. It situates identity practices within a context in which changes in social organisation have led, first, to more flexible and individualised identities interacting with traditional anchors of identity, such as class; and second, a shift in young people's political activities from official (e.g. political party membership) to 'everyday' activities (e.g. environmentalism). Interviews, focus groups and participant observations with adults (ages 18-35) from two dance culture case studies (a free party system and a drum and bass club) are being analysed from a social constructionist perspective to provide an empirical examination on the role of leisure activities in the production of social and political identities.
The study explores the kinds of experiences of self associated with dance culture, the understandings that make dance culture meaningful to the participants and how these experiences and senses of self interact with other aspects of the participants' lives. It will also examine whether dance culture provides a site for the production of political identities; the match between neo-tribe theory and participants' descriptions of their experiences of dance culture; and relate the findings to drug and alcohol harm minimisation policy. The project runs from November 205 through to the end of October 2007 and is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.