Goth and industrial cultures: differential interpretations

Following the Columbine High Schooltragedy, news media widely reported the teenage gunmen to be adherents to the Gothic and Industrial cultures (GIC) (Arcuaga 1999; Brooke 1999; Dority 1999; Purdum 1999). The members of these cultures are often stereotyped as prone to depression, violence, and Satan worship (Gunn 1999; Porter 2003; Robinson 2003). More recently, in Southern California, a teenage girl was killed by her friends who were later described as "Goth teen killers" (KCAL 2004) and were believed to be in a deadly "Goth love triangle" (Reitman 2004:62). Additionally, those involved in GIC have been cast as anti-social and rebellious (Hodkinson 2002; Tait 1999). This paper presents an ethnographic exploration of GIC, comparing results with perceptions of said culture held by the larger society. Kantian philosophy and symbolic interaction frames this comparison.