Burning punk and bulldozing clubs

The role of destruction and loss in popular music heritage

Authored by: Catherine Strong

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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The conceptualisation of popular music as heritage can only be understood in relation to destruction. This destruction can manifest in various ways, with this chapter focusing on the intentional destruction of artefacts for a political or artistic purpose, and destruction of famous music venues as a consequence of gentrification. The chapter emphasises the centrality of ‘loss’ to heritage discourses and preservationist impulses, and explores some of the common public responses to it, often involving grief, anger and contested claims over ownership and heritage value. However, it must be remembered that destruction is necessary in order for any artefacts to have meaning, and can result in creativity and new forms of heritage.

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