I have just organised my already written material for this chapter. It is just over 20000 words. The chapter is ostenisbly on ‘Media’ as I plot the emergence of online-based forms of sociality within the scene of modified-car culture. Writing this up to help organise my thinking a bit. EDIT: very rough, ignore spelling and grammar
I explore the changes to the conditions of possibility of the scene are determined by the emergence of a new media form. The argument is based around the relation between established media, such as the enthusiast magazines, and the function of email lists and then online forums in the infrastrucutral capacities of the scene. One dimension of the role of the magazines does not change (the spectacular dimension) and the new forums actually add to the legitmacy of the magazines through discussion (not unlike the paradoxical relationship of old and new media in blog vs MSM discussions of ‘media events’ produced through the MSM). The new forms of sociality mediated by online forums produces a greater rate of activity in the scene (greater ‘churn’) and replace a few of the functions of certain established enthusiast magazines. What complicates things though is that it were the smaller less ‘spectacular’ and more ‘socio-technical’ magazines whose function was displaced by online media.
All this occurs on a socio-structural level, but on a cultural level of meaning and practice other changes also occured to the scene at the same time. I call this the ‘rise of the imports’. Street machining had been dominant within Australian modified-car culture since the early 1980s and to a certain extent it still is. However, with the rise of the import cultures in the mid-1990s there was a real alternative in the discursive and practical structurations of the scene.
Both of these series of changes enabled the proliferation of new events within the scene, which is where the socio-strucutral and the cultural make contact; they are ‘in-acted’ (to use a neologism of mine from the diss). I actually include interview work here as the implicit histrocial narrative that structures most of my diss (1970s — street rodding, 1980s — street machining, 1990s/present — imports) has arrived at the present juncture where the actual enthusiasts I interviewed (yes, I actually did interviews, too! lol) are discussing relevant dimensions of the scene.
Why the interviews are irrelevant for earlier periods is that the discursive conditions of the scene (and events of the scene) change. An ‘enthusiast’ in the 1970s is not the same as an enthusiast in the 1980s or now for that matter. This is to think the scene as an event with practical and discursie conditons of possibility that change. My ‘scenes’ chapter explores the epic shifts from the 1970s to the late-1980s. The rate of change in discursive formations of poular culture has been underestimated, I think, by previous scholars of popular culture. There is a continual discursive politics in effect. In large part driven by the logic of the cultural industry to capitalise on new econo-cultural opportunities that emerge within various enthusiasts and to a lesse degree it is driven by participants of various scenes producing news forms of ‘distinction’.
Anyway… back to work.