Lecture of Stoyan V. Sgourev about Norwegian black metal (21st September 2022)
On Wednesday 21st September, we co-organize at the Department for the Study of Religions at Masaryk University in Brno a guest lecture of Stoyan V. Sgourev “Norwegian Black Metal: Practices of Positioning and Destigmatization”.
Start: 18.00 in B2.21. Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University, Arna Nováka 1, Brno.
Stoyan V. Sgourev received his PhD in sociology from Stanford University and was until this summer professor at ESSEC Paris. He is currently a visiting scholar at the New Bulgarian University and Ca’ Foscari University in Venice. His research interests include innovation and evaluation practices in the creative industries, and social processes in historical perspective. He has published in leading academic journals on a range of topics, including Norwegian black metal, 18th century Dutch trade networks, oil painting, Modern art and the Palio di Siena.Lecture
In this presentation, I will discuss the sociological approach to Norwegian black metal: a heavy metal genre that achieved global notoriety in the mid-1990s through its involvement in church-burning and grave desecration. Such highly controversial contexts raise multiple questions, such as: how do bands position themselves vis-a-vis other genres or how to explain the popular appeal of a genre associated with morally-deplorable acts. Using data from the “Metal Archives”, I show how international record labels bypassed the stigmatization of black metal in Norway by signing local bands to build up global demand, reframing transgressions as a sign of authenticity – of consistence between words and action, and resistance to the social order. I show how bands positioned themselves in aesthetic space, closely monitoring other bands, but keeping distance from them. The presentation highlights a fundamental paradox in contemporary culture: the absence of intention to please or sell facilitated the commercial success of the black metal genre.