Growing Old Together: Pop Studies and Music Sociology Today

Perchard, Tom. 2017. Growing Old Together: Pop Studies and Music Sociology Today. Twentieth-Century Music, 14(2), pp. 335-343. ISSN 1478-5722 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Popular music and society had been thought inseparable long before the union was made official, at first in the title of pop's original academic journal (1971), later in that of a much-taught textbook (1995). In many minds at late century, sociologies of music were sociologies of pop: Western art music's true believers could still easily imagine that repertoire existing on another plane – the historical literature was devoted to the minute detailing of its mucky creative contexts, but that didn't have to matter – and critically minded, social science-trained pop scholars usually didn't care enough to argue. Yet music sociology's first, halting steps had actually been taken in approaching the classical canon, and the movement of the 1980s and 1990s that was the New Musicology seemed radical precisely because it opened so many doors onto the social. That, then, was the situation twenty years ago, at least in the Anglophone countries: a popular music studies reaching maturity but still largely embedded in sociology and media/communications departments, and a musicology gradually transforming into a discipline in which music was much more openly reconciled with the worlds of its making.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Music > Popular Music Research Unit


20 February 2017Accepted
25 July 2017Published Online

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Date Deposited:

21 Feb 2017 17:38

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:24

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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