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Do you see yourself?: Reflected subjectivities in youthful song texts
Linköping University, Department for Studies of Social Change and Culture, Advanced Cultural Studies Institute of Sweden. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
1995 (English)In: Young - Nordic Journal of Youth Research, ISSN 1103-3088, Vol. 3, no 2, 3-22 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Reflexivity has been a focal theme in much recent youth research, including my own. This theme connects studies of identity construction, subject form­ation and text reception with diagnoses of cultural modernization and method­o­log­ic­al issues of qualitative ethnography. Popular-cultural mass-media texts are continuously drawn into reflexive practices in everyday life, appar­ent­ly in increasingly intense and complex ways.

‘Reflexivity’ derives from the Latin ‘reflectere’: fold back. What is being folded back in cultural con­texts are thoughts or symbol­i­za­tions. Human sub­jects may be more or less reflexive, as people use texts (from talk and gestures to books and computers) in self-mirroring identity construct­ions, by explicitly defining who they are.

Cultural texts may also be (more or less) reflexive, in two possible senses. A text (dialogue, magazine, film, etc.) may be auto-reflexive, i.e., mirror itself, thematize or make explicit its own construction. Advertisements or tele­vision programmes nowadays often depict how ads or TV works, sometimes in an ironical mode (cf. Hutcheon, 1980/1984; Stam, 1985/1992).

Texts may secondly also be subject-reflexive, i.e., mirror the self-mirror­ings of human individuals and problematize the identities of the subjects who are symbolically produced in these texts. Some youth cultural texts (including words, songs and images) used and/or made by young people depict the pro­cess of reflexive sub­ject formation as an explicitly formulated theme. All these forms of reflexivity are closely inter­con­nect­ed, since reflexive texts mirror reflexive practices and in turn are used as mirrors in them. But it is this last sense of reflexivity as a theme in youth cultural texts, bridging subject‑ and text-reflexivity, which will be ana­lyz­ed here.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
1995. Vol. 3, no 2, 3-22 p.
Keyword [en]
youth culture, song lyrics, popular music, identity, authenticity, reflexivity, modernity
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-15600OAI: diva2:126731
The final, definitive version of this paper has been published in: Young: Nordic Journal of Youth Research, (3), 2, 3-22, 1995.Johan Fornäs, Do you see yourself? Reflected subjectivities in youthful song texts. by SAGE Publications Ltd, All rights reserved. Available from: 2008-11-20 Created: 2008-11-20 Last updated: 2009-05-14Bibliographically approved

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