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'Caught in a Mosh': Moshpit Culture, Extreme Metal Music, and the Reconceptualization of Leisure Open Access


Other title
extreme metal music
moshpit culture
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Riches, Gabrielle
Supervisor and department
Dr. Karen Fox (Physical Education and Recreation)
Examining committee member and department
Dr. Lisa McDermott (Physical Education and Recreation)
Dr. Andie Palmer (Anthropology)
Physical Education and Recreation
Recreation and Leisure Studies
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Arts
Degree level
This study explores the ways in which moshing and extreme metal music reflects and informs the social worlds of metal fans. The research project incorporates narrative ethnography which offers the opportunity to explore how underground subcultural practices contribute to our understandings of how violence, pain, and pleasure can be thought with compassion and possibility in leisure. Key concepts such as liminality (Turner, 1979), Dionysian aesthetics (Hawley, 2010; Maffesoli, 1993; Bataille, 1986/1989), and Cagean philosophy (Cage, 1957; Brooks, 2002; Kostelanetz, 1996; Patterson, 2002) are used to examine the nuances and subtleties of moshing culture, practices and behaviours in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Four main themes emerged: the physicality and reality of participating in a moshpit, pit etiquette and movements of trust, negotiation of space within the moshpit, and the significance of moshing for local metal fans. The study accentuated how tensions, pleasures, and resistant practices are necessary in creating meaningful leisure experiences.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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