No Class? Class and Class Politics in British Heavy Metal

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No Class? Class and Class Politics in British Heavy Metal

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Publication BookChapter
Title No Class? Class and Class Politics in British Heavy Metal
Author(s) Nilsson, Magnus
Date 2009
Editor(s) Bayer, Gerd
English abstract
In Chapter 9, Magnus Nilsson analyses Motörhead’s lyrics as an attempt to handle a dominant discourse about the working class within the framework of a ‘heavy metal sub-culture’, and to investigate the political implications of this attempt. Song statements such as ‘We are Motörhead’ can be seen as an attempt to change class value in the public sphere. But, as nilsson shows, such songs have to be seen as an investment in a capital that, regardless of its value in a larger public sphere, already has a relatively high value in the heavy metal sub-culture where signs connoting working-class identity are used to create a strong sense of collective identity. However, this construction of identity is seldom politicized in Motörhead songs. What is constructed instead is a ‘cultural otherness’ that has almost no links whatsoever to questions concerning oppression, material injustice and so on. Even in songs that explicitly deal with class issues, the argument is limited to questions of identity. What is at stake is social class, but this is articulated as bearing a mark of cultural distinction.
Publisher Ashgate
Host/Issue Heavy Metal Music in Britain
Series/Issue Ashgate popular and folk music series
ISBN 978-0-7546-6423-9
Pages 161-180
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) heavy metal
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION::Aesthetic subjects::Music
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Sociology
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Other social sciences::Media and communication studies
Note Peer reviewed.
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