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Title: Popular music and the life course : cultural commitment, lifestyles and identities
Author: Gibson, Lucy
ISNI:       0000 0004 2683 3158
Awarding Body: The University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2009
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Traditionally, studies of popular music have focused on young people and youth cultures. This thesis builds on previous sociological research by exploring the salience, meaning and long-term social uses of popular music for people aged over thirty. The study employs an ethnographic approach to investigate the experiences of 'older' fans in northern and rare soul, rock, and electronic dance music 'scenes'. Methodologically, the research draws on participant observation, face-to-face and electronic interviews with over seventy fans, Web 2.0 data, and secondary sources. The thesis shows that using the internet in qualitative research can produce in-depth and rich data. The study demonstrates that music tastes are typically formed during a person's youth and then remain relatively stable through the life course. A central argument of this thesis is that long-term popular music consumption, and participation in scenes, is best understood as a thread of involvement. The thread of music involvement stresses the fluidity of cultural participation since popular music weaves through the life course with shifting meaning, engagement and experience. Moreover, the research illustrates a number of socia-cultural experiences of older fans such as: the importance of belonging, community, and friendship networks; gaining status and distinction through long-term involvement in popular music scenes; the changing nature of recreational drug-use during adulthood; the role of nostalgia; intergenerational transference of taste in the family; and the gendered nature of popular music consumption, which age adds particular significance to, as older women are often marginalised in popular music scenes. This thesis contributes to previous research by highlighting the significance of popular music for people aged over thirty. Case-studies of older fans of northern and rare soul, rock, and EDM demonstrate that popular music does not necessarily wane in importance as people grow older and that long-term involvement in popular music scenes can be a highly meaningful and salient feature of adult lives. In contrast to existing work, this thesis argues that leisure practices and popular music tastes that began during youth can be extended and re-worked in adulthood.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available