The Northern Soul Scene - Sarah Raine

The Northern Soul Scene - Sarah Raine

Soul Boy, Soul Girl: Reflections on Gender and Northern Soul

The Northern Soul Scene - Sarah Raine

Katie Milestone [+-]
Manchester Metropolitan University
Katie Milestone is Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies and Sociology at the Manchester Metropolitan University. Katie’s research interests are focussed on gender and popular culture, creative industries, place and identity and popular music. She began her research career at the Manchester Institute for Popular Culture where she undertook a PhD on music and place. She has a long-standing personal and academic interest in Northern Soul and has published work and organised research events on this music based community. Katie’s is currently completing a second edition of her jointly authored book on Gender and Popular Culture (Polity Press), and a Major Works Collection on the same subject for Routledge. Katie is also completing publications on dance music culture and gender, place and identity in the creative industries.


This chapter focuses on women’s experience of the early years of Soul based clubbing in England. The chapter draws on data from interviews with four British women who were teenagers or in their early twenties from the mid 1960s through to the mid 1970s. Each of these women were regular attenders of Soul events at night clubs in Manchester and the North West and Midlands of England. All four women attended a range of venues dedicated to Soul music during this period. However their recollections are dominated by discussion of trips to Manchester’s Twisted Wheel club. We explore the freedom from traditional gender constraints that participation in Soul fandom offered these young women and the impact these experience had on their identities and personal trajectories. The chapter aims, in a modest way, to redress the disregard of women’s contribution and experiences in accounts of the rare and northern soul scenes.

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Milestone, Katie. Soul Boy, Soul Girl: Reflections on Gender and Northern Soul. The Northern Soul Scene. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 197-214 Feb 2019. ISBN 9781781795583. Date accessed: 03 Dec 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.31275. Feb 2019

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