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Putting the ‘studies’ back into metal music studies

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The field of metal music studies is in the ascendancy and has established itself as a legitimate domain of enquiry. In this article, we argue that the study of metal has the capacity not only to provide us with rich histories of the subculture and the experiences of fans as academics, but is able to (and should) contribute to wider concerns within society. We aim to answer three key questions that, we argue, underpin and legitimate academic enquiry of metal music: (1) why does the study of metal matter? (the need to ask and answer the ‘so what?’ question); (2) how does metal matter? (the case for methodological rigour) and finally, (3) epistemologically: how can we justify our claims to knowledge? As such, this article is a call to reflect on the wider questions and issues that underpin the study of metal and move the field beyond descriptive representational accounts.

Keywords: epistemology; metal music studies; methodology; scientific relevance; social relevance; theory

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: De Montfort University 2: Erasmus University Rotterdam

Publication date: September 1, 2018

More about this publication?
  • Metal Music Studies is the journal of the International Society for Metal Music Studies.

    The aims of the journal are:
    • To provide an intellectual hub for the International Society of Metal Music Studies and a vehicle to promote the development of metal music studies;
    • To be the focus for research and theory in metal music studies – a multidisciplinary (and interdisciplinary) subject field that engages with a range of parent disciplines, including (but not limited to) sociology, musicology, humanities, cultural studies, geography, philosophy, psychology, history, natural sciences;
    • To publish high-quality, world-class research, theory and shorter articles that cross over from the industry and the scene;
    • To be a world leader in interdisciplinary studies and be a unique resource for metal music studies.
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