This book provides an up-to-date introduction to the study of popular music. It is written in the belief that the analysis of popular music needs to be informed by wider debates in sociology and cultural studies. The book examines the ways in which popular music is produced, structured as text, and understood and used by audiences. It includes overviews and critiques of general theories, outlines of the most important empirical studies, and data on the contemporary production and consumption of popular music. Drawing on the theories of Adorno and Weber, Longhurst examines the contemporary organization of the music industry, the social production of music, and the effects of technological change on production. The history and politics of popular music are discussed, as are the connections of popular music and sexuality. Issues such as authenticity, stemming from the debates around Black music, are addressed, and several different ways of studying the texts of popular music are reviewed. The literature on subculture and music is looked at in the context of an examination of the audience for pop music. Developing work on fans is considered, as are contemporary approaches which problematize relationships of production and consumption. Clearly written and well illustrated, Popular Music and Society will be an excellent textbook for students in the sociology of culture, cultural studies, and media and communication studies.
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