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Title:The articulation of difference and identity in alternative popular music practice
Author(s):Fenster, Mark Andrew
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Grossberg, Lawrence
Department / Program:Communications
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Mass Communications
Abstract:This thesis concerns the difficult process by which what I term alternative popular musics form and survive, and the social significance of their activities. By alternative I mean those practices which construct themselves as distinct from and at times oppositional to mainstream musical practices by defining themselves through musical, institutional and social difference. The thesis thus focuses upon the processes of the articulation of differences such as race, class, sexuality, taste, and many other social categories in popular musical practice.
The specific questions that are considered are: How are alternative musical practices formed, and how are they able to survive within political economic structures that clearly favor the music produced by large, multi-national corporations? How are difference and individual and group identities articulated in practice--how, in other words, do certain (ethnic, gender, class, sexual, taste, etc.) differences work as nodal points around which musical practices are formed, and how do these differences operate in social, aesthetic and institutional practice? And how do the individuals involved in these practices communicate and form alliances both in local scenes and across wide spatial distances, forming both local communities and communities that are spatially dispersed?
The thesis is divided in three parts: a theoretical introduction that argues for a processual model to account for the cultural and economic context for the production and reception of, as well as the articulation of difference and identity in, alternative popular musical practices; a discussion of the ways in which the contemporary international music industry determines the conditions of possibility for alternative musical practice; and case studies of different aspects of three sets of alternative musical practices. The objects of the case studies are the emergence of a dispersed community of gay and lesbian punk/ hardcore fans and fan publications; the formation of a bluegrass music industry; and a survey of the reaction to rap music by mainstream, trade, and liberal and radical publications. Together, the case studies document the difficulty and social and cultural significance of such practices in the struggle over individual and group cultural activity, and the rights of individuals and groups to articulate difference.
Issue Date:1992
Rights Information:Copyright 1992 Fenster, Mark Andrew
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9236459
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9236459

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