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Subcultural identity in alternative music culture


Angela McRobbie (1992) has recently observed that what is currently missing from Marxist cultural studies is a sense of urgency. In part, I believe this lack of urgency is the result of cultural studies' tendency ultimately to privilege theory over lived experience; the lived experiences of the post-baby boom generation seem especially neglected. As a 1991 issue of Spin magazine told its readers:

Magazines and newspapers such as Time and the New York Times are … comparing you unfairly to the dynamic and euphoric baby boomers – the authentic prototype of youth culture, at least as they would have it. They're saying you, the members of the twentysomething generation, have no distinctive identity, no culture to call your own, only recycled bits from the past. Ask yourself this question: Do you recognize yourself in this portrait? No? We didn't think so. (Owen 1991, p. 68)

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Sara Cohen . 1991a. ‘Popular music and urban regeneration: the music industries of Merseyside’, Cultural Studies, 5(3), pp. 332–46

Julian Henriques , Wendy Holloway , Cathy Urwin , Couze Venn and Valerie Walkerdine . 1984. Changing the Subject: Psychology, Social Regulation and Subjectivity (London)

Chantal Mouffe . 1988. ‘Hegemony and new political subjects: toward a new concept of democracy’, in Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, eds. Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg (trans. Stanley Gray) (Urbana) pp. 89104

Will Straw . 1991. ‘Systems of articulation, logics of change: communities and scenes in popular music’, Cultural Studies, 5(3), pp. 368–88

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Popular Music
  • ISSN: 0261-1430
  • EISSN: 1474-0095
  • URL: /core/journals/popular-music
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