Popular music in mediated and collective memory

Authored by: Ben Green

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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Concepts of mediated memory and collective memory are increasingly being taken up in the study of popular music. This chapter outlines the multiple, interrelated themes of this work. Popular music is a rich resource for both the mediation of personal memory and the ongoing construction of both old and new forms of collective memory, from nations to music scenes. This is a major aspect of music’s role in both personal and collective identity, so that the intersections of memory and popular music are sites of social and cultural reproduction and struggle. People’s engagements with popular music are shaped by collective narratives of the past, as well as contributing to those narratives in the present. Times, places and events are remembered through popular music as a vehicle of cultural memory, while the songs, artists, places and events of popular music are themselves remembered collectively as significant. Popular music and memory therefore mediate each other in various ways that are reflective and constitutive of both traditional social groupings and the new collectivities to which popular music gives rise.

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