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Forms of capital in the Dhaka metal scene

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This article examines the metal scene in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and attempts to explain how the resources crucial to its birth and continued existence can be understood through Bourdieu’s different forms of capital. This local metal scene, which is part of a larger alternative music, is a youth-based male-dominated, non-commercial and non-professional music scene based on international genres of metal, located in the unique urban socio-historic milieu of this postcolonial developing country. For this research, a total of fourteen participants involved with this scene were interviewed, supplemented by participant observation at local gigs and analysis of related texts. This local metal community revolves around the activities of primarily middleclass, part-time, male musicians who share particular economic, cultural and social resources that afford their participation in it. Economic and cultural capital involves resources such as privileged upbringing, ability to invest time and money in such semi-professional activities like playing and being involved with metal music, covering costs of buying necessary gear like music instruments, amplifiers, multi-effect processors, microphones, etc., and learning instruments like guitar, bass and drums from music schools or professional music teachers. Being involved with the local metal milieu also entails participating in shared spaces like jamming pads, recording studios and small venues, having access to English-language education, which in turn enables the understanding of foreign music content as well as bringing together people with similar socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, and having access to foreign cultures and music through record stores, travels, cable TV channels and the Internet. Of equal significance alongside such economic and cultural capital is social capital. This includes maintaining social networks with, and receiving the approval of, certain influential agents known as Murubbis or Boro Bhais.
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Keywords: Bangladeshi metal; Bourdieu; Dhaka; cultural capital; metal; scene

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: North South University (NSU)

Publication date: March 1, 2016

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  • 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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