Rock Against Racism (RAR) operated between 1976 and 1981, and was a mass campaign that combined anti-racist politics with popular culture. Throughout this period RAR used the medium of concerts featuring black and white musicians as a focus for, and practical demonstration of, its politics of 'inter-racial' unity. This book deals with important theoretical issues that are particularly pertinent to the party's relationship with RAR. It covers three areas: the theory of state capitalism, the relationship between the party and the working class, and the united front. The book then examines the state of the Socialist Workers Party - formerly the International Socialists (IS) - during the mid- to late 1970s. The youth cultures with which RAR most closely identified were contested between political tendencies and music industry interests before RAR appeared on the scene. Punk had emerged as a significant, if somewhat ambivalent, radical phenomenon in its own right and reggae was implicated in the politico-cultural struggles between black people and the British state. Furthermore, it is clear from the testimony from the far-right that black culture was not immune to co-option by forces opposed to the kind of multiculturalism that RAR espoused. The book also looks at some of the political and social influences on the organisation's politics. It argues that RAR's approach entailed a rejection both of the Communist Party's Cold War-inflected point of view and of those theorists who despaired of any attempt to break the grip of bourgeois ideology on the working class.
This book explores the interface between musicological and sociological approaches to the analysis of music, and in doing so reveals the differing foundations of cultural studies and sociological perspectives more generally. Building on the arguments of his earlier book Sounds and society, the author initially contrasts text-based attempts to develop a ‘social’ analysis of music with sociological studies of musical activities in real cultural and institutional contexts. It is argued that the difficulties encountered by some of the ‘new’ musicologists in their efforts to introduce a social dimension to their work are often a result of their unfamiliarity with contemporary sociological discourse. Just as linguistic studies have moved from a concern with the meaning of words to a focus on how they are used, a sociological perspective directs our attention towards the ways in which the production and reception of music inevitably involve the collaborative activities of real people in particular times and places. The social meanings and significance of music, therefore, cannot be disclosed by analysis of the ‘texts’ alone, but only through the examination of the ways in which music is a constituent part of real social settings. This theme is developed through discussions of music in relation to processes of social stratification, the collaborative activities of improvising musicians, music as language, music as a ‘cultural object’ and music in everyday social situations.
One of the arguments for which Wittgenstein is most celebrated is
his contention that linguistic meaning is not inherent in words,
phrases, sentences and so on, but depends on the ways in which they
are used (1972: 20). At first sight, this seems contrary to commonsense notions of how we communicate, and also to alternative
theories of language which are based on the assumption that words
represent states of affairs. After all, what could be more straightforward than a sentence like ‘The grey
Music and manipulation
Adorno’s theory of contemporary society begins with the claim of a
system integration which has become total; thus he can regard the
entire media of the culture industry only as a means of domination and
must rate popular forms of art as phenomena of psychical regression.
(Honneth, 1995: 81)
The idea that people may be subject to manipulation by music is a
familiar one, yet efforts to develop it sociologically soon run into
difficulties. For one thing, the ‘manipulation’ in question
Music and the sociological gaze
‘The history of musicology and music theory in our generation’,
write Cook and Everist, ‘is one of loss of confidence: we no longer
know what we know’ (1999: v). The reasons for this widely
acknowledged crisis of confidence need not be rehearsed, but clearly
arise from a series of challenges to the established discipline – from,
for example, the critical and feminist theories of the ‘new’ musicologists, from various claims about the proper relation of musicology
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The difference of Irish music
The only thing to which I find that this people apply a commendable industry is
playing upon musical instruments, in which they are incomparably more skilful than
any other nation I have ever seen. For their modulation on these instruments, unlike
that of the Britons to which I am accustomed, is not slow and harsh, but lively and
rapid, while the harmony is both sweet and gay. It is astonishing that in so complex
and rapid a movement of the
Politics and belonging in
the music of Turkish-French
In late July 2011, Michel Raison, a member of the French National Assembly,
wrote to the Minister of Culture to suggest censoring ‘certains groupes de musique
rap issus de l’immigration’ (certain rap groups of immigrant origin) (Raison
2011)1 because they were a threat to French democracy.2 As an editorialist in the
newspaper Le Monde reminded readers, however, it was not young rappers in the
banlieue who invented protest music. But previous generations of musicians who
ridiculed the French
The Irish mind has enabled the Irish to balance and accommodate imagination and intellect, emotion and reason, poetry and science. The notion of cultural difference is not just an Irish story, but a story of nations and ethnic groups all over the world. The story of modernity revolves around people coming to see and understand themselves as belonging to nations. Although there were other European nations that made Catholicism a keystone of national difference, there were many factors that made the Irish project different. The idea of creating a society that had a collective vision and commitment without being socialist became an ideal of the Catholic Church during the latter half of the twentieth century. The Church did, nevertheless, have a profound influence on Irish society and culture. The extent to which the Catholic Church shaped and influenced Irish politics has been the subject of much research and debate. The power of the Catholic Church in politics stemmed from the power it developed in the modernisation of Irish society and, in particular, the controlling of sexuality, marriage and fertility. During the first half of the twentieth century, the Irish developed a particular aversion to marriage. For many nations and ethnic groups, what binds people together is that they speak the same language. It may well be that for generations many Irish people identified the Irish language, music and sport as an inhibitor in embracing a less insular and more urbane, cosmopolitan disposition.
Twenty-first-century Scottish play-acting draws depth and energy from a European and Western tradition of dreaming Scottish dreams, and this tradition dates back to at least the late eighteenth century, to the beginnings of European Romanticism. This book explores how contemporary celebrations of Scotland build upon earlier Scottish fantasies. The Scottish dreamscape is one of several pre-modern counter-worlds which have been approached through imitation in the past. The book examines the 'Scotland' that is on the play-actors' minds. The Scottish dreamscape was formed in an eighteenth- and nineteenth-century process now best known as Highlandism. It was then that Scotland became associated with the aesthetics and supposed characteristics of its Highland periphery. The book also explores the Scottish dreamscape's spread via the channels of the British Empire and American popular culture. It identifies five key carriers which helped to disseminate the Scottish aesthetic across the world, namely epic poetry, the Highland regiments, music hall entertainment, Hollywood films, and romance novels. The book further focuses on fieldwork conducted in 2009 and 2010. It sheds some light on the different forms of Scottish play-acting, on musicians, athletes, commemorators, and historical re-enactors. The pipers and athletes do not imitate the past; they perform in what they hope are old but living Scottish traditions. Commemorators and historical re-enactors have a different aim. They seek to recreate the past in the present. Finally, the book identifies some of the main reasons for the Scottish dreamscape's special resonance in northern and western Europe.
This book reflects upon the wide range of Chris Wrigley's research and publications in the study of the various aspects of British labour history. It presents a set of themes revolving around the British labour movement and the lives of those connected with it. The book begins with a discussion on biography in the shape of George Howell's work on trade unions and presents Herbert Gladstone's view that the unions emerged from the medieval workers guilds. Chris was also interested in political figures connected with progressivism and the labour movement, which is reflected in the examination of Gladstone's role in the Liberal Party. There is an examination of the Co-operative Party in the north-east of England, the 1911 National Insurance Act, and the relationship between the unions and the Labour Party. The inter-war British labour politics is covered by the disaffiliation of the Independent Labour Party (ILP) from the Labour Party and by a study of the Progressive League. British and German working class lives are compared in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Female trade unionism is dealt with a focus on Association of Women Clerks and Secretaries (AWCS). The contribution of the Lansburys is brought by an essay on the role of the family members in working-class politics, including women's enfranchisement. The book also deals with the attempt by the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) to engage with punk music, and ends with a discussion on the theme of Labour disunity.