Popular Music and Community Identity

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Identity is defined by the cultural differences of individual people, groups or communities of people that express economic and political views that we identify with (Barker qtd. in Shuker 142). The construction of identity is not to look at it as a ‘production’, incomplete but “always constituted within, not outside, representation” (Hall qtd. in Weedon 5). Community identity, as one of the forms of identity with self-identity and national identity, is used in popular music to identify with a group of people that share invested interests to form a community (Shuker 142-143). Though an individual may be a producer of a piece of music, it is the audience that shares their like for it and makes it popular. The audience of each piece of music is a community in itself. The significance of the piece is conveyed through what the artist produces and what they call “meaning”. From the audience, the “meaning” lies within the interpretation of the music produced. This meaning can be affected depending on different factors involved in the listening experience. These factors are the lyrics, the form, performance style among others. The piece that demonstrates a “meaning” according to the audience is something they enjoy, what is called popular music and something the audience can identify with as a community (Robinson, Buck and Cuthbert 15). This can be associated with music in the past. Past meaning of music refers to the “material and aesthetic environment in which it was once playing” (Denora 144). Different communities of people have tastes and identify with different forms of music. Rap music is associated as part of the identity of a particular youth community that have defined themselves as ‘rap univores’. This term is ... ... middle of paper ... ...t the Margins: Popular Music and Global Cultural Diversity. SAGE Publications, Inc. 1991. Print. Roy Shuker. Popular Music: The Key Concepts. Second Edition. London: Routledge. 2005. Print. Kellner, Douglas. “The Elvis Spectacle and the Culture Industry.” Sonic Synergies: Music, Technology, Community, Identity. Eds. Gerry Bloustien, Masrgaret Peters and Susan Luckman. Ashgate Publishing Limited. 2008. Print. Weedon, Chris. Identity and Culture: Narratives of Difference and Belonging. MPG Books Ltd. 2004. Print. Carrey, James T. “ Changing Courtship Patterns in the Popular Song.” The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 74, No. 6 (May, 1969), pp. 720-731. 1 June 2010. Print. Tanner, Julian. “Listening to Rap: Cultures of Crime, Cultures of Resistance.” Social Forces, Volume 88, Number 2, December 2009, pp. 693-722. 25 May 2010. Print.
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