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Title: Social mobility, masculinity and popular music : the case of glam rock
Author: Branch, Andrew
ISNI:       0000 0004 2701 3557
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2010
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Since its emergence in the early seventies, glam rock has been theoretically categorized as a moment in British popular culture in which essentialist ideas about male gendered identity in particular were rendered problematic for a popular music audience. In providing both a discursive reading of glam during the period 1971-1974 and new research on glam's influence on its male working-class fans, I argue that whilst this reading of glam is valid, insufficient attention has been given to an examination of the relevance of social mobility vis-ä-vis the construction of self-identity in relation to glam. My thesis is therefore concerned with raising questions about social class in addition to interrogating questions of gender. In undertaking a study of the ethno-biographies of a sample of glam's original working-class male fans, the thesis contends that glam's political significance is better understood as a moment in popular culture in which an educationally aspirant section of the male working class sought to express its difference by identifying with the self-conscious performance of a more feminized masculinity it located in glam. This rearticulation of masculinity, performed by an increasingly self reflexive subject, alive to the social and cultural upheavals of the period, was discursively represented as a modern development in contrast to the dominant representations of working-class masculinity - bound by tradition and community and thus essentialized as resolutely masculine - that had until that historical moment enjoyed hegemonic status. The thesis argues that the modem/unmodern dialectic at play here was replicated in glam's divergent artistic factions, which aligned themselves to competing aesthetic positions. In critiquing this process, the thesis engages with the work of Bourdieu (1993a, 2003,2007a) to raise questions about how this transition from unmodern to modern was affectively experienced by glam's male fans. The thesis concludes with an examination of glam rock's legacies in respect of more recent performances of masculinity by working-class young men seeking mobility. Finally, it draws on Skeggs' (2004) work to argue that class-based identities are always fixed by the more powerful other in order to be morally judged.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available