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This isn't paradise, this is hell : discourse, performance and identity in the Hawaiʻi metal scene

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Item Summary

Title: This isn't paradise, this is hell : discourse, performance and identity in the Hawaiʻi metal scene
Authors: Olson, Benjamin Hedge
Keywords: metal
popular music
popular culture
show 2 moreHawaii
local identity

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Issue Date: Dec 2012
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 2012]
Abstract: The island of Oahu is home to probably the most ethnically diverse metal scene in the United States. Contemporary Hawaiʻi prides itself on being a "model of multiculturalism" free of the racism and ethnic strife that is endemic to the continent; however, beneath this superficial openness and tolerance exist deeply felt class, ethnic, and racial tensions. The metal scene in Hawaiʻi experiences these conflicting impulses towards inclusion and exclusion as profoundly as any other aspect of contemporary Hawaiian culture, but there is a persistent hope within the metal scene that subcultural identity can triumph over such tensions. Complicating this process is the presence of white military personnel, primarily born and raised on the continental United States, whose cultural attitudes, performances of masculinity, and conception of metal culture differ greatly from that of local metalheads. The misunderstandings, hostilities, bids for subcultural capital, and attempted bridge-building that take place between metalheads in Hawaiʻi constitute a subculturally specific attempt to address anxieties concerning the presence of the military, the history of race and racism in Hawaiʻi, and the complicated, often conflicting desires for both openness and exclusivity that exist within local culture. The metal scene in Hawaiʻi is perceived by participants as an idealized community that transcends the limitations and social tensions of dominant culture. Heavy metal allows participants in the Hawaiʻi scene to use cultural fragmentation to their advantage; to stay one-step ahead of dominant cultural authorities, and disrupt the ways in which they are perceived by others. The contentious, emotionally charged community that metalheads have built for themselves in Hawaiʻi does provide a profound sense of belonging and identity, even if such feelings are unstable and always in contest. The knowledge that one belongs to such a community, that one retains membership in an underground world that most people are ignorant of, does carry over into participants' everyday lives, making those spheres of life that metalheads have less control over seem less imposing and intimidating.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2012.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - American Studies

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