By Dunja Brill
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Additional resources for Goth Culture: Gender, Sexuality and Style
A seminal edited volume, Resistance through Rituals (Hall and Jefferson, 1 9 7 6 ) , which was followed by other influential works, was devoted to unearthing the meanings behind the styles of the conspicuous subcultures springing up in post-war Britain: Mods, Hippies, Bikers, Skinheads, Teds and Punks. Proceeding from a neo-Marxist conflict model of society and semiotic techniques of close reading, the approach inter preted subcultural style along the lines of two themes: resistance to subordinate class status and symbolic communication of marginalised ideas.
Gender subversion through cross-dressing, as proposed by Butler and Garber, hinges on style practices and their potential for signifying resistant meanings. The relationship between style, power and resistance is an intricate and often contradictory one. Wilson ( 1 9 9 2 , p. 14) stakes out the field of dress codes as a site of struggle around cultural definitions and identities by understanding dress as 'a powerful weapon of control and dominance' with 'simultaneously subversive qualities' (original emphasis).
In Bodies That Matter (1993) Butler reworks the concept of gender performativity as citationality. While Gender Trouble posits performativity as inten tional, though involved in power relations which cannot be transcended but only redeployed, Butler's later formulations restrict the agency of the subject even further. , p. 2 3 4 ) . e. the law of binary heterosexuality - acts and articulates itself through us. Butler's approach has been instrumental in radically deconstructing common ideas of gendered identity and subjectivity.