Pop-Rock MusicAesthetic Cosmopolitanism in Late Modernity
Pop-Rock Music
Aesthetic Cosmopolitanism in Late Modernity

Pop music and rock music are often treated as separate genres but the distinction has always been blurred.  Motti Regev argues that pop-rock is best understood as a single musical form defined by the use of electric and electronic instruments, amplification and related techniques. The history of pop-rock extends from the emergence of rock'n'roll in the 1950s to a variety of contemporary fashions and trends – rock, punk, soul, funk, techno, hip hop, indie, metal, pop and many more.

This book offers a highly original account of the emergence of pop-rock music as a global phenomenon in which Anglo-American and many other national and ethnic variants interact in complex ways.  Pop-rock is analysed as a prime instance of 'aesthetic cosmopolitanism' – that is, the gradual formation, in late modernity, of world culture as a single interconnected entity in which different social groupings around the world increasingly share common ground in their aesthetic perceptions, expressive forms and cultural practices.

Drawing on a wide array of examples, this path-breaking book will be of great interest to students and scholars in cultural sociology, media and cultural studies as well as the study of popular music.

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  • June 2013 (hb)
    July 2013 (pb)
  • 224 pages
  • 158 x 235 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $72.75
  • 9780745661728
  • Paperback $26.00
  • 9780745661735
  • Open eBook $20.99
  • 9780745670904
Table of Contents

Preface vii

1 Theories and Concepts 1

Aesthetic Cosmopolitanism: A Theoretical Framework 4

Characterizing Aesthetic Cosmopolitanism 6

Theoretical Framework 9

Rock, Pop, and Popular Music 17

Structure of the Book 23

Methodological Note 26

2 Expressive Isomorphism 28

Pop-Rock Styles and Genres 32

Pop-Rock Divas 33

Rock Auteurs 35

Progressive Rock 37

Punk and Metal 38

Electronic Dance Music 40

Hip-Hop 41

Ethnic Rock/New Folk 43

Dominance of the Musical Public Sphere 46

Legitimation Discourse 50

Ritual Classification: Tradition vs. Pop-Rock 52

Ritual Periodization: The “Birth of Rock” 54

3 A Field of Cultural Production 57

Working of the Field 59

Production of Meaning 61

Pop-Rock’s Ideology of Art 65

Mechanisms of Change and Innovation 75

Avant-Gardism 76

Commercialism 78

The Spiral of Expansion 80

Structure of the Field 83

National (Sub-) Fields of Pop-Rock Music 87

4 Long-Term Event of Pop-Rockization 91

Events 93

The Musical Event 95

The Historical Musical Event of Pop-Rock 96

Agency 97

Early “Pre-History” 106

Consecrated Beginning 108

Consolidation and Rise to Dominance 113

Diversification, Internationalization, Glorification 117

5 Aesthetic Cultures 123

Subcultural Scenes to Aesthetic Cultures 126

Aesthetic Cultures 129

Forms of Pop-Rock Knowledge 131

Early Participation 133

Global Microstructures 136

Internet Platforms 138

The Pop-Rock Intelligentsia 142

Indie/Alternative Pop-Rock 142

Alternative Pop-Rock on the Web 146

An Extended Case: Israeli Cognoscenti 148

6 Sonic Vocabularies, Spaces, and Bodies 158

Sonic Vocabularies 161

Tones and Timbres 162

Museme Stacks and Strings 165

Global Electro-Amplified Soundscapes 168

Aesthetic Cosmopolitan Bodies 172

Actants of Intercultural Phenomenological Proximity 177

References 180

Index 195

About the Author
Motti Regev is professor of sociology at The Open University of Israel where he works on the sociology of culture and art and popular music studies.
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"Spirited, thought-provoking and replete with original perspectives that use music as a prism for understanding cultural politics and cross-border impact on traditional art forms."
The Hindu

"A very fine piece of work, which makes an original contribution both to our understanding of popular music and to our understanding of the global cultural order. It provides a new perspective on how sounds are produced, circulated and experienced."
John Street, University of East Anglia

"In this highly original book, Professor Regev considers how exploring pop-rock both taps and enriches sociological theory. Regevs study is both empirically nuanced and theoretically sophisticated. It illuminates music as a fundamental and dynamic material of social life. As Regev shows, pop-rocks emergence is nothing less than the re-figuration of world culture."
Tia DeNora, Exeter University

"Motti Regev expertly provides a much needed take on pop-rock, the field(s) in which it is produced and enjoyed, and its global diffusion. He uses the case of pop-rock to cast empirical light on aesthetic cosmopolitanism and artistic legitimation. The result is a book that is highly informative and refreshingly engaging."
Professor Timothy Dowd, Emory University

"This is an exceedingly important book. It really does move the fields of music and sociology on by showing how the figurative musical world we live in today is literally a musical world."
Journal of World Popular Music

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