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Appears in Collections:Communications, Media and Culture eTheses
Title: Group Identity: Bands, Rock and Popular Music
Author(s): Behr, Adam
Supervisor(s): Frith, Simon
Drake, Phil
Keywords: Popular Music
Rock Bands
Issue Date: Jun-2010
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: Since rock became the subject of academic study, its attendant ideology has been scrutinised and its mythical and Romantic components exposed. Largely absent from this account has been a thorough analysis of the phenomenon of the ‘band’. The role of individual acts and the wider contexts in which they worked has been discussed at the expense of an examination of an important form of music-making. This thesis seeks to address that gap. Using a mixture of literary research and ethnography, I present an overall picture of the band as a modus operandum, charting its evolution during the emergence of rock and presenting evidence that it has become a key means by which people enter and engage with the field of popular music. I suggest that debates about ‘authenticity’ in rock, in seeking to see through industry rhetoric have overlooked the way in which creativity in bands is closely connected to social interaction. My historical analysis brings to light the way in which the group- identified band has become embedded into popular music practice through the power of narratives.Two case studies, contextualised with archival material and interviews, form the basis for a model for collective creativity. By demonstrating how social action and narrative myth feed into one another, I argue that the group identity of a band is the core of the industrially mediated texts to which audiences respond. Our understanding of how authenticity is ascribed in popular music, and rock in particular, has paid too much attention to genre-based arguments and not enough to musical and social methods. I propose a way of revising this to take better account of rock as an actual practice.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Arts and Humanities
Communications, Media and Culture

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