UCL Anthropology


Lindsay Bishop


UCL Email: lindsay.bishop.10@ucl.ac.uk
Websites: https://www.lindsay-bishop.com/
Year of Start: 2015
Supervisors: Susanne Küchler, Allen Abramson, Titus Hjelm
Subject: Social Anthropology
Fieldsite: UK

PhD Research

Smoke, smell and skins: Hierarchy in heavy metal

This thesis will explore the internal hierarchy of the heavy metal community in the UK. Based on fourteen months of fieldwork throughout the UK, it combines accounts attained from touring musicians and audience members in addition to observations, visual documentation, archival data and online activity.

Pilot research conducted in 2011 identified metal subcultural capital is first and foremost cultivated through participation at live events. This capital is then communicated in daily life via material indicators of longevity and embodied practices. Using Alfred Gell's theory of the 'Art Nexus' it will utilise four entities: the artist, index, prototype and recipient as a means to articulate the hierarchical social relations within heavy metal catalysed by the index-live performance.

In so doing it will also provide an alternative to the archetypal dyadic approach to subcultural analysis. In that it will bring a traditional holistic Dumontian study of hierarchy to bear on a contemporary western community that is sustained by the social relations cultivated at live performances. In offering a Gellian interpretation of the heavy metal nexus, this thesis brings to the fore social hierarchies and the resultant value embedded in the social agency of the music performed.

Research interests

  • Subcultural material culture and performance
  • Embodiment and engagement within digital gaming
  • Extreme performance and transformative role of the abject
  • Visual anthropology


  • Upcoming. Collective nightmares: Subcultural synaesthesia, cultural camouflage and sacrifice in heavy metal material culture. Journal of Material Culture.
  • Upcoming. Warring queens: Gender performance and fear of the other in survival horror game Alien: Isolation. Inter-Disciplinary Press.

Presentations & Conferences

Upcoming The phenomenology of new myths and places within Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. Conference - Evil Spaces, Wicked Places: The Geographies and Architectures of Evil. London, UK
2016Fear Factory Performing the Abject: Collective nightmares of the subcultural body politic. Conference: American Comparative Literature Association, Harvard University, USA
2015Alien: Isolation - Gender Performance and Fear of the Other in Survival Horror Games. Conference: Fear, Horror and Terror: Experiences, Production and Dissemination The Fear, Horror and Terror Project. Oxford University, UK 
2015Give me back my Beautiful Beast! Supernatural Horror & Subcultural Transformation. Conference: Vernacular Religion, Folk Belief, and Traditions of the Supernatural. Macau, China.
2014 The Dread of Difference: Semiotics & Subcultural Identity. Lecture: University of the West of England. Bristol, UK. 
2013 Wearing Things: Bodies, Corpses & Cadavers. Lecture: University of the West of England. Bristol, UK. 
 2012 Mainstream Media & Subcultural Semiotics. Lecture: University of the West of England. Bristol, UK. 

Teaching Experience

  • 2011-Present. Visual Culture Associate Lecturer, University of the West of England.
  • 2011. Blended Learning Associate Researcher, University of the West of England.

Education History

  • 2010-12. M.A. (Distinction), Material and Visual Culture, University College London.

Thesis: Power through volume: The formation of identity and community through the sensory economy of heavy metal under the supervision of Prof S. Kuechler

  • 2007-10. B.A. (Hons), Fine Art and Visual Culture, University of the West of England.