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    The Rhythm of Our Lives: Popular Music and Cultural Memory in the Age of the Internet and Retro Culture

    Hogarty, Jean (2015) The Rhythm of Our Lives: Popular Music and Cultural Memory in the Age of the Internet and Retro Culture. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    This thesis examines how popular music listening facilitates cultural memory through retro culture and the affordances of the internet and mobile listening technologies. The theoretical framework is comprised of a blend of approaches, namely, Hesmondhalgh’s (2005) ‘none of the above’ thesis, Mannheim’s (1928) concept of the ‘generation unit’, Williams’ (1961) ‘structures of feeling’, the concept of hauntology and a soft technological determinism. This framework is used to interpret the empirical data emerging from thirty-eight semi-structured interviews conducted with a cross-generational sample of male and female fans of older popular music aged between eighteen to sixty-two years of age and based in the greater Dublin area. Using theoretical and empirical evidence, then, the thesis argues that while popular music is continually associated with youth culture in academia, there is a developing trend of retro culture and nostalgia in recent years that demands more attention. It is found that the specific generation unit of younger fans in this study listen primarily to rock and indie music of the mid-to-late twentieth century and possess memories of and nostalgia for these particular genres and decades in their quest for authenticity and the desire to connect through music to a generation and time period that is not theirs. This is found to be the result of cultural developments such as changing generational relationships, the continued production and consumption of popular music by older generations, the structure of feeling shared by the generation unit, new means of retrieval, storage and distribution and also the revival of older formats. In short, the findings show that cultural and technological trends enmesh to influence the ways in which musical tastes and memories are constructed. There has been some work completed on this topic by journalists but little in terms of academic work and so my original contribution to existing knowledge arises from my analysis of the concept of retro culture through a theoretical and empirical study of music listeners.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Rhythm; Lives; Popular Music; Cultural Memory; Age; Internet; Retro Culture;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology
    Item ID: 7762
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2017 12:52

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