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The Cultural Role of Stigmatized Youth Groups: The Case of the Partille Johnnys of Sweden

Research in Consumer Behavior

ISBN: 978-1-78052-116-9, eISBN: 978-1-78052-117-6

Publication date: 7 November 2011


Purpose – This chapter aims to contribute to the theoretical domain of identity construction by discussing an aspect of identity-not, that is, how identity is largely formed by delimitations of what one does not identify with. We do this by analyzing the reactions of mainstream youth to the stylistic expressions of one particular youth group – the so-called Partille Johnnys (PJs) of Sweden – who in certain ways breaks with conventions of how to relate to the globally available canon of culturally sanctioned styles, which places them in a position as stigmatized. The purpose of the chapter is to further the understanding of how stigma gets orchestrated in consumer culture and what cultural role stigmatized groups might play.

Methodology – The empirical material for this chapter has been collected using various qualitative research techniques. Initially, the phenomenon was discovered and explored during ethnographic observations and interviews. In addition, online research was carried out.

Findings – The PJ style functions as a mirror for reflecting on transgressions of what is considered normal in terms of style and bodily practices for contemporary Swedish youth. Our conclusion suggests that the cultural function of the stigmatized group PJ is to serve as a reminder of what the mainstream is not.

Originality/value of the chapter – A phenomenon previously not studied, part of the value lies in the ethnographic descriptions capturing the PJ phenomenon. With these empirical descriptions, we wish to add to discussions of how the stigmatized groups gets orchestrated as well as the role that stigmatized groups can play at a cultural level.



Lindblad, E. and Ostberg, J. (2011), "The Cultural Role of Stigmatized Youth Groups: The Case of the Partille Johnnys of Sweden", Belk, R.W., Grayson, K., Muñiz, A.M. and Jensen Schau, H. (Ed.) Research in Consumer Behavior (Research in Consumer Behavior, Vol. 13), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 127-143.



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