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Poor, but Sexy

Reflections on Berlin Scenes

Edited By Geoff Stahl

Poor, But Sexy: Reflections on Berlin Scenes offers readers a varied cross-section of the city’s scenes, providing a prismatic view of one of Europe’s mythical cultural capitals. The authors gathered here address a range of topics, including Turkish gay clubs, queer filmmaking, record labels, the legendary Russendisko, electronic music festivals, the city’s famous techno scene, the clandestine dimensions of its nighttime club culture, and the fraught emergence of the Mediaspree. With the shifting context of post-Wende Berlin its backdrop, this collection puts into relief an electic array of case studies, presenting to readers interested in exploring urban issues a number of critical and analytical perspectives on the city’s cultural life as it moves into the twenty-first century. Poor, But Sexy is an important contribution to the critical analysis of the cultural spaces in the city, and allows readers access to one of the few scholarly overviews of Berlin’s varied cultural life available in English.
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The Scene of Scenes: Berlin Underground Parties, Neither Movement nor Institution: Carlo Nardi

Extract

CARLO NARDI

The Scene of Scenes: Berlin Underground Parties, Neither Movement nor Institution

Introduction

Berlin is well known, especially among youths, for its animated nightlife, featuring daily a broad range of events. Among these, the underground scene is often seen not only as innovative and kaleidoscopic, but also as an alternative to mainstream culture. This image, whether it corresponds to the truth or not, relates to self-organised activities and a “do-it-yourself” ethic that contribute to explain the particular appeal that Berlin exerts on certain forms of tourism on a global level. Here I want to argue that this context, where divergent “subscenes” coexist, can be understood, by metaphor, in comparison to what different authors call more or less interchangeably ‘alter-globalisation’ (Pleyers), ‘global justice movement’ (della Porta; della Porta and Diani) or ‘movement of movements’ (Harvie et al; Mertes), to identify an entity that, while supporting a more democratic and participatory vision of globalisation, recognises difference and inclusion across geographical boundaries as values in themselves. This comparison is also justified by references in the scene to the language and values of the Movement of Movements. It will be my aim to show how these references, far from taking the form of a complete endorsement, are mainly instrumental for the promotion of the scene, while serving transitory identity needs for a youth culture characterised by individualisation and fragmentation. ← 83 | 84 →

Methodology

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