The politics of popular music heritage

Authored by: Henry Johnson

The Routledge Companion to Popular Music History and Heritage

Print publication date:  May  2018
Online publication date:  May  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138237636
eBook ISBN: 9781315299310
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter offers a critical examination of some of the ways that popular music heritage has been produced as a result of interventions through politics, commerce, organisations, education and exhibitions. The discussion is concerned primarily with the production of popular music heritage from a top-down perspective, and with differing political interpretations, where three cultural spheres are outlined in terms of interventions: (1) governmental intervention, (2) commercial and organisational intervention and (3) intervention through exhibition. The discussion of such popular music sites shows that they are inherently political in terms of their capacity to embody knowledge and produce discursive norms and epistemic power relations. The approach taken in each part of the chapter draws on pertinent literature and select examples from popular music heritage, particularly in the UK setting and with The Beatles included in several case studies. The chapter is informed by key secondary sources, and by political, commercial, organisational and educational initiatives that have helped produce popular music heritage in the contemporary era.

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