2017 Abstracts Stage 3

A Defence of Disco: exploring the power and value of disco with reference to Adorno’s theories of music and the Culture Industry

Francesca Helen Francis, 2017, Stage 3

The values of disco are often seen to tie neatly into consumerist culture and represent a false, materialistic and escapist attitude to life. In this project, I seek to provide a defence for a genre that had significant power and value for marginalised communities.

I will be referencing texts that discuss popular music and popular culture, focusing on Theodor Adorno, Richard Middleton and Simon Reynolds predominantly, in order to assess how a musical movement can be valued, what disco music can tell us about ourselves, and whether disco music should be taken seriously as a musical genre.

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