- Code MUSI3317
- Unit Value 6 units
The impact of Western popular music transcends its origins in composition, recorded artefact and concert performance. Popular music and politics are inextricably linked. In just a few decades, popular music has [re]defined [sub]cultures, influenced politics & policy and empowered minority groups. Drawing upon extensive examples and contemporary scholarship, this course explores how and why contemporary popular music is one of the most widespread, meaningful, and influential cultural phenomena in the world today. Avoiding a chronological or historical approach, this course examines the political significance of popular music through a variety of cultural and contextual lens, including music aesthetics, textual analysis, race, gender and sexuality. Cultural-theoretical backdrops include a consideration of sound recording technology, ethnomusicology, feminism and ‘queer theory’. Case study examples taken from broad genre spectra will illuminate the social impact of popular music and its relationship[s] to particular cultural themes such as identity, censorship and violence.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- describe the interrelationship[s] between popular music, culture and politics from several theoretical perspectives;
- evaluate the role, significance and influence of popular music in cultural and political contexts;
- speculate on the potential influence of popular music on the culture[s] and politics of the future;
- analyse popular music using appropriate tools and descriptors specific to the discipline; and
- demonstrate research, written and oral communication skills on the culture and politics of popular music.
- Critical analysis of an allocated album/ text, 3000 words (50) [LO 1,4,5]
- One paired presentation on a chosen popular music theme, 15 minute e-presentation with embedded multimedia materials (50) [LO 2,3,5]
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130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops; and
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Bennett, A. (2001) Cultures of Popular Music. Open University Press.
Middleton, R. (1990) Studying Popular Music. Open University Press.
Moore, A. (2012) Song Means: Analysing and Interpreting Recorded Popular Song. Ashgate.
Negus, K. (1996) Popular Music in Theory - An Introduction. Polity Press.
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- 6 units
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