Paranormal Politics and the Romance of Urban Subcultures: Youth Mobility in Cassandra Clare’s and Melissa Marr’s Fantasy Texts

  • Leonie Rutherford
  • Elizabeth Bullen
  • Lenise Prater
Keywords: urban fantasy, youth subcultures, metropolis, late modern society, premodern society, Clare, Cassandra, Marr, Melissa

Abstract

This essay examines the political and social significance of the intrusion of the supernatural into youth subcultures in two urban fantasy series: Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments and Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely. Both series represent the idea of human youth mobility and social affiliation based on volition. The tolerant urban spaces through which their girl protagonists initially move accommodate a diversity of subcultural aesthetics. By contrast, the supernatural subcultures with which these girls become involved are fraught with conflict, and the mobility of their members is limited. Drawing on post-subcultural theory, we identify a tension between late modern and premodern social organization and political values in contemporary urban fantasy for young adults and compare how it is resolved in Clare’s and Marr’s texts.

Author Biographies

Leonie Rutherford

Leonie Rutherford is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Communication and Creative Arts at Deakin University in Australia. Her research interests include the media practices of children and youth, television studies, multi-platform production, audience research, the reading practices of adolescents, media policy, and influences of media on children’s digital literacy, health, and educational outcomes.

Elizabeth Bullen

Elizabeth Bullen is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Communication and Creative Arts at Deakin University in Australia. She has published on child and youth media cultures, globalization, and higher education. Her co-authored books include Consuming Children: Education, Entertainment and Advertising (2001), which was a Times Educational Supplement Book of the Week (UK). Haunting the Knowledge Economy (2006), published as part of Routledge’s International Library of Sociology series, draws on a range of theorists to discuss the ways in which connections among knowledge, technology, and the economy are reshaping contemporary life.

Lenise Prater

Lenise Prater is a tutor in the School of Communication and Creative Arts at Deakin University in Australia. Her Ph.D. research at Monash University concerned contemporary fantasy and gender politics.

Published
2016-08-19
How to Cite
Rutherford, L., Bullen, E., & Prater, L. (2016). Paranormal Politics and the Romance of Urban Subcultures: Youth Mobility in Cassandra Clare’s and Melissa Marr’s Fantasy Texts. Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 8(1). Retrieved from http://jeunessejournal.ca/index.php/yptc/article/view/301
Section
Articles for Special Issue on Mobility