Writing about listening: alternative discourses in rock journalism

Atton, Chris (2009) Writing about listening: alternative discourses in rock journalism. Popular Music, 28 (1). pp. 53-67. ISSN 0261-1430

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‘Alternative’ publications challenge the conventional discourses of rock journalism. In particular, the dominant discourses of authenticity, masculinity and mythology might be countered by publications that emphasise historical and (sub)cultural framing, and that present radicalised ‘spaces of listening.’ Using Bourdieu’s field theory to identify autonomous and semi-autonomous sites for rock criticism, the paper compares how a fanzine (the Sound Projector) and what Frith has termed an ideological magazine (the Wire) construct their reviews. The findings suggest that, whilst there is no evidence for an absolute break with the dominant conventions of reviewing, there is a remarkable polyglottism in alternative music reviewing. The paper emphasises differing cultural and social practices in the multiple ways the publications write about music, and argues for the value of such polyglottism.

Item Type: Article
Print ISSN: 0261-1430
Electronic ISSN: 1474-0095
Additional Information: Chris Atton is Professor in Journalism at the School of Creative Industries, Napier University, Edinburgh. His books include Alternative Literature (Gower, 1996), Alternative Media (Sage, 2002) and An Alternative Internet (Edinburgh University Press, 2004). He has edited special issues on alternative media for Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism and Media, Culture and Society. He is currently researching community media and its audiences in Scotland. His latest book (Alternative Journalism) was co-authored with James Hamilton and was published by Sage in May 2008.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Rock music; Alternative publications; Historical review technque; Sub-cultural review technique; Cultural influences; Sociological influences; Linguistic styles;
University Divisions/Research Centres: Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Creative Industries > School of Arts & Creative Industries
Dewey Decimal Subjects: 400 Language > 410 Linguistics
000 Computer science, information & general works > 070 News media, journalism & publishing
300 Social sciences > 300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 306 Culture & institutions
300 Social sciences > 300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 305 Social groups
Library of Congress Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature of music
Item ID: 2480
Depositing User: Professor Chris Atton
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2009 12:24
Last Modified: 07 Jan 2013 16:45

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