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Title: Culture is a weapon : popular music, protest and opposition to apartheid in Britain
Author: Toulson, David
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 8671
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis explores the relationship between popular politics and popular music through the context of the international campaign against apartheid South Africa. In particular the thesis focuses on the ways in which the British Anti-Apartheid Movement, arguably the best organised and best established anti-apartheid solidarity organisation, interacted with popular music. This was a relationship that had been well established by the AAM’s attempts to enforce a wide ranging cultural boycott against South Africa. Growing challenges to the status and the logic of the boycott throughout the period, demonstrate well the shifting nature of popular politics. This link between popular music and protest against apartheid would also be embraced by musicians outside of the traditional constituencies of groups such as the AAM. In particular the growing market for reggae and what would later be termed world music demonstrated a wider interest for the subject beyond traditional activist circles. In both these genres the themes of pan-Africanism and anti-apartheid solidarity played an important role in the imagery and packaging of many artists. Yet the distance between these musicians and fans and established campaigning groups could also be a source of conflict. This was an issue that is highlighted best by the controversy surrounding Paul Simon’s 1987 Graceland album. This desire to use popular music as a campaigning tool in and of itself would later also be embraced by campaigns such as the AAM. In particular this manifested itself in a number of increasingly high profile awareness raising concerts including a 1990 concert at Wembley Stadium. Yet the complex negotiations and politics of the event also revealed something of the limitations of the relationship between popular music and popular politics and the extent to which more nuanced messages could be lost in a larger spectacle.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: DA Great Britain ; M Music