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Ex-XXX: making sense of the Straight Edge subculture and communicating an ex-Straight Edge identity
Arnold, Juliana J
Lindemann, KurtGeist-Martin, PatriciaPerez, Ramona
Young people, teens and young adults in particular, are constantly looking for ways to construct a desirable self. This search for belonging, meaning in life, and escape from peer pressure often leads to subcultural participation, such as Straight Edge. Straight Edge is a predominantly male youth subculture that commits against drinking, smoking, and promiscuity, fostering a conceptual space for constructing an identity alternative to the more dominant narratives of experimentation within these arenas. As with any subculture, the Straight Edge collective identity is not stable, and most adherents denounce their commitment to Straight Edge in their early twenties due to their changing ideas of who they are and who they want to be. Despite the movement away from the everyday adherence to the strictures of Straight Edge, the influence of the group remains strong. Using qualitative research, this study examined the narratives of ex-sXers to illuminate how they made sense of their prior subcultural participation, and how their experience is reflected in the way they communicate their present personal identity. Three communicative tensions in communicating a collective identity emerged, including: a) certainty versus uncertainty; b) community versus gang; and c) "true 'til death" versus "thinking for yourself." In communicating an ex-sXe personal identity, participants illustrated three communicated concepts: a) responsibility for self and other; b) open-mindedness; and c) authenticity.
Professional Studies and Fine Arts
Master of Arts (M.A.) San Diego State University, 2010
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