Focusing on youth cultures that revolve around dance clubs and raves in Great Britain and the U.S., Sarah Thornton highlights the values of authenticity and hipness and explores the complex hierarchies that emerge within the domain of popular culture. She portrays club cultures as “taste cultures” brought together by micro-media like flyers and listings, and traces changes in the recording medium from a marginal entertainment in the 50s to the clubs and raves of the 90s.
Club Cultures is readable and innovative, and is considered a key text in cultural, sociological and media studies. Skipping from discos to acid houses to raves, the world within the scene is dissected by theoretical insight and first hand experience. The historical background is fascinating, and the theoretical issues are truly inspiring. Even though the book is originally published in 1996 it still is very insightful, and well illustrates the shortcomings of early subcultural theory.