Skip to main content

All the young dudes: educational capital, masculinity and the uses of popular music

  • Andrew Branch (a1)

Since its emergence in the early 1970s, glam rock has been theoretically categorised as a moment in British popular culture in which essentialist ideas about male gendered identity were rendered problematic for a popular music audience. Drawing on a Bourdieusian theoretical framework, the article argues that while this reading of glam is valid, insufficient attention has been given to an examination of the relevance of educational capital vis-à-vis the construction of self-identity in relation to glam. It is therefore concerned with raising questions about social class in addition to interrogating questions of gender. The article draws on the ethno-biographies of a sample of glam's original working class male fans: original interviews with musicians and writers associated with glam, as well as published biographical accounts. In doing so it contends that glam's political significance is better understood as a moment in popular culture in which an educationally aspirant section of the male working-class sought to express its difference by identifying with the self-conscious performance of a more feminised masculinity it located in glam.

Hide All
Adorno T. [1938] 1991. ‘On the fetish character in music and the regression of listening’, in The Culture Industry, ed. Bernstein J.M. (London, Routledge), pp. 2652
Adorno T., and Horkheimer M. [1972] 1997. ‘The culture industry: enlightenment as mass deception’, in Dialectic of Enlightenment (London, Verso), pp. 120–67
Auslander P. 2006. Performing Glam Rock: Gender and Theatricality in Popular Music (Michigan, University of Michigan)
Back L. 2007. The Art of Listening (Oxford, Berg)
Barthes R. 1977. ‘The grain of the voice’, in Image Music Text (London, Fontana Press), pp. 179–89
Bourdieu P. 1990. ‘The uses of the “people”‘, in In Other Words (Cambridge, Polity), pp. 150–55
Bourdieu P. 1992. Language and Symbolic Power (Cambridge, Polity)
Bourdieu P. 1993. Sociology in Question (London, Sage)
Bourdieu P. 1998. Practical Reason: On a Theory of Action (Stanford, SUP)
Bourdieu P. 2003 [1979]. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste (London, Routledge)
Bourdieu P., and Eagleton T. 1994. ‘Doxa and common life: an interview’, in Mapping Ideology, ed. Zizek S. (London, Verso), pp. 265–77
Bourdieu P., with Boltanski L., Castel R., Chamboredon J.C. and Schnapper D. 1990. Photography: A Middle-brow Art (Cambridge, Polity)
Bracewell M. 2007. Re-make/Re-model (London, Faber and Faber)
Branch A. 2010. ‘Social mobility, masculinity and popular music: the case of glam rock’, unpublished PhD thesis (London, University of East London)
Cagle Van M. 1995. Reconstructing Pop/Subculture Art, Rock and Andy Warhol (Thousand Oaks, Sage)
Featherstone M. 1991. Consumer Culture and Postmodernism (London, Sage)
Frith S., and McRobbie A. 1990. ‘Rock and sexuality’ in Rock, Pop and the Written Word, ed. Frith S. and Goodwin A. (New York, Panthean), pp. 371–89
Gilbert J., and Pearson E. 1999. Discographies: Dance Music, Culture and the Politics of Sound (London, Routledge)
Hebdige D. 1979. Subculture: The Meaning of Style (London, Routledge)
Hoggart R. 1957. The Uses of Literacy (Harmondsworth, Penguin)
Hoskyns B. 1998. Glam! Bowie, Bolan and the Glitter Rock Revolution (London, Faber and Faber)
Hunt L. 1998. British Low Culture: From Safari Suits to Sexploitation (London, Routledge)
Logan N. 1972. ‘Slade, T.Rex and The Faces: a mini phenomenon’, in New Musical Express, 19 February
MacCabe C. 1998. Performance (London, BFI)
Maxwell I. 2002. ‘The curse of fandom: insiders, outsiders and ethnography’, in Popular Music Studies, ed. Hesmondhalgh D. and Negus K. (London, Arnold), pp. 103–16
Medhurst A. 2000. ‘If anywhere: class identifications and cultural studies academics’, in Cultural Studies and the Working Class, ed. Munt S. (London, Cassell), pp. 1935
Mills D., and Gibb R. 2004. ‘“Centre” and periphery – an interview with Paul Willis’, in Learning to Labor in New Times, ed. Dolby N. and Dimitriadis G. with Willis P. (London, Routledge-Falmer), pp. 197226
Moore A.F. 2001. Rock: The Primary Text (Aldershot, Ashgate)
Reynolds S., and Press J. 1995. The Sex Revolts: Gender, Rebellion and Rock ‘N’ Roll (London, Serpent's Tail)
Richards B., MacRury I., and Botterill J. 2000. The Dynamics of Advertising (Amsterdam, Harwood)
Robins D. 1984. We Hate Humans (Harmondsworth, Penguin)
Savage J. 1998. ‘Divine decadence: memories of glam’, Gadfly Magazine, October, pp. 34–5, 51
Segal L. 1988. ‘Look back in anger: men in the 50s’, in Male Order Unwrapping Masculinity, ed. Chapman R. and Rutherford J. (London, Lawrence and Whishart), pp. 6896
Skeggs B. 2004. Class, Self, Culture (London, Routledge)
Taylor I., and Wall D. 1976. ‘Beyond the skinheads: comments on the emergence and significance of the Glamrock Cult’, in Working Class Youth Culture, ed. Mungham G. and Pearson G. (London, Routledge and Kegan Paul), pp. 105–23
Thornton S. 1995. Club Cultures: Music, Media and Subcultural Capital (Cambridge, Polity)
Vermorel F., and Vermorel J. 1985. Starlust: The Secret Fantasies of Fans (London, Comet)
Welch C. 1969. ‘A mixture of Dali, 2001 and the Bee Gees’, in Melody Maker, 11 October
Willis P. 1977. Learning to Labour: How Working Class Kids get Working Class Jobs (Aldershot, Gower)
David Bowie, ‘Starman’. Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. RCA, SF 8287. 1972
David Bowie, ‘The Jean Genie’. Aladdin Sane. RCA, RS 1001. 1972
Gary Glitter, ‘Rock And Roll (Parts 1 & 2)’. Bell, 1216. 1972
Mud , ‘Tiger Feet’. RAK, 166. 1973
Roxy Music, ‘Ladytron’. Roxy Music. Island, ILPS-9200. 1972
Roxy Music, ‘Beauty Queen’, ‘Grey Lagoons’, ‘In Every Dream Home a Heartache’. For Your Pleasure. Island, ILPS-9232. 1973
Slade , ‘Cum on Feel the Noize’. Polydor, 2058-339. 1973
Sparks , ‘This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both of Us’. Island, WIP6193. 1974
Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, ‘Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)’. EMI, 2263. 1975
The Sweet, ‘Blockbuster!’. RCA, 2305. 1973
Rex T., ‘Metal Guru’. EMI/MARC, MARC 1.1972
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Popular Music
  • ISSN: 0261-1430
  • EISSN: 1474-0095
  • URL: /core/journals/popular-music
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 25
Total number of PDF views: 177 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 556 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 16th December 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.