Retrospektiva modernister : om historiens betydelse för nutida mods
Sammanfattning: "Retrospective modernists. On the significance of history for contemporary mods" This thesis studies the use and significance of history among contemporary mods in Sweden, that is, how the actors on the mod scene articulate and perform a sense of community with a specific past. Mod culture is first and foremost associated with the 1960s and the contemporary mods regard the 60s as the template and essence of their style. The actors thus become mods by enacting associations that stretch out over time, towards an imagined community that is based on the histories of mod cultures and mod styles of the past. Hereby I argue that the contemporary mod scene is an example of a retrospective trend through which the general interest in history as well as the use of history have increased. The thesis is based on a performative theory, inspired by Bruno Latour’s Actor-Network-Theory. History is thus regarded as makings-of-pasts-in-the-present. A qualitative ethnographical approach, based on interviews and observations, is used as the main method. Newspapers, magazines and fanzines from the 1960s, 1980s and 1990s are also studied. The four empirical chapters adress, in order, a differentiation between a Swedish and a British history of mod culture; the use of objects, such as vinyl records and tailor made suits, as a subcultural capital; how historically charged atmospheres at clubs and scooter rallies are evoked by networks of objects and human actors; and how maps of time and continuities are articulated as a way of dealing with and controlling temporal distances. Primarily, the thesis raise three themes in regards to the retrospective trend of the present. First, it illustrate how individuals and groups, by using and performing history, create meaningful boundaries for themselves. Retrospection thus functions as a way of gaining an existential presence and stability in an elusive present. Second, the use and performance of history seemingly narrows the distance towards the past. A central point in the thesis is, however, that the contemporary mods not only try to get closer to the desirable past, they also try to regain a distance and remoteness towards this past, in order to not reduce and deprive this past of its mystery and attraction. Thirdly, this regaining of the past’s remoteness is also a way of articulating this specific past as valuable. History is thus performed and used as a capital. I illustrate how this use of the past is performed in a selective way, through an ’us and them’ relationship, in which ”our own” history is elevated as holding the key to higher values and truths, while ”their” history is articulated as negative and problematic. The thesis thus contributes with new perspectives and knowledge on the significance and use of history in the present. It also contributes analytically and methodologically to subcultural studies, studies on history culture and to historical studies in general.
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