Chronotopic Euphoric Misanthropia: Transforming and Indexing Brutality in Asian Contexts

Dr Jessica Birnie-Smith1, Dr Wes Robertson2

1La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia, 2Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

In the current paper, we draw on chronotopic frame theory to investigate how indexes of “brutality” in the extreme metal scene are adopted, translated, and transformed by Asian metal bands to position their identities within an international community of practice. Although extreme metal has traditionally been thought of as a Western genre, spaces for the construction of “brutal belonging” or “metalness” are emerging throughout Asia (Overell, 2014). These spaces support an overarching worldwide fandom, but simultaneously exist as more national and local communities of “brutal” practice. This paper explores how three bands from Japan, Taiwan, and Indonesia re-evaluate and combine indexes of “brutality” connected with the international heavy metal subculture with local linguistic resources to construct metal identities that are at once translocal and distinctly local. Each of the studied bands negotiates their belonging to diverse yet ultimately ‘metal’ spaces by drawing on local language resources and employing them in new contexts, repositioning traditional language use as modern, young, and ultimately “metal”.


Dr Jess Birnie-Smith is a lecturer in Linguistics at La Trobe university. Her research interests are centred on how marginalised and peripheral communities create and negotiate belonging to interactional spaces through language.

Dr Wes Robertson is a lecturer in International Studies at Macquarie University. His research focuses on the way in variation restricted to the written mode acquires social meaning.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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