British Indie Music in the 1990s: Public Spheres, Media and Exclusion

White, Rachel. 2006. British Indie Music in the 1990s: Public Spheres, Media and Exclusion. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

Developing existing theories of public and counterpublic spheres, this thesis moves beyond theoretical ideals to formulate a working model of the cultural counterpublic sphere in which British indie music is understood, legitimated and ascribed value. This 'indie public' is then interrogated with the central aim of understanding the continued discrepancy in levels of male and female participation in British indie music at every level during the 1990s. Given the centrality of the media to contemporary, geographically dispersed publics it is through a discursive analysis of the British music press, particularly the NME and the Melody Maker, that the masculine constitution of the indie public is revealed. The music press is viewed as not just representing or reflecting the indie scene, but as central to its construction as a genre and the discursive production of privileged subject positions therein.

The empirical research analyses how discourses of gender, and to a lesser extent race, class and sexuality, inform the key themes and concepts through which the music press both constructs and evaluates artists and audiences in the indie public. The bulk of the analysis focuses the extended coverage of four prominent 90s' indie bands; Suede, Elastica, Oasis, and Echobelly. The findings are presented thematically in four main areas; the construction of authenticity and 'the artist', the construction of stars and the bases of their appeal, the importance of British national identity during the 'Britpop' era of the mid-1990s and the production of fans and audiences in the indie public. The research proposes that these themes are interlinked, intrinsically gendered and productive of a profoundly male homosocial sphere from which women are largely excluded.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

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British indie music, 1990s, music press, gender, race, sexuality, Britpop

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Date Deposited:

08 Jun 2020 15:12

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 12:37


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