The sociology of unpopular music: permanent liminality in post Celtic Tiger Ireland

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Corcoran, Robert
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University College Cork
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The central focus of this thesis involves the combined application of reflexive historical genealogy and liminality theory to investigate emergent forms of social networks organized around specific forms of cultural activity, specifically in this instance, the realm of independent alternative music. This liminal borderland of cultural and subcultural activity is characterized in the context of globalized neoliberalism as instantiated in post-Celtic Tiger Ireland. These undertakings are achieved by constructing a large theoretical edifice which is periodically supplemented with a wide range of empirical data and hermeneutical analysis invoked illustratively, selectively and strategically throughout. The range of research is spread across four major research chapters which apply this theoretical framework and the concomitant methodology to topics surrounding the emergence and ultimate decline of Ireland’s Celtic Tiger economy, the periodic renegotiation of music and noise over the last century, the emergence of ‘alternative’ as an aesthetic and socio-cultural designation quite distinct from its original meaning as the inverse of mainstream practices. This discussion highlights a variety of social science research initiatives into the relationship between youth groups and popular/fringe music forms to evaluate if any privileged relationship between the two can be established. Once such a framework is advanced in suitable detail, the focus is switched to the manner with which contemporary communications technology has modified such activities, paying particular attention to the conditions which both give rise to such technology and the forms of consumption and communication which they subsequently instantiate. The final section of the research attempts to assess how the major themes and discussion up to this point are discernable within the contemporary context via the incorporation of observational, ethnographic and hermeneutic methods.
Unpopular music , Post Celtic Tiger Ireland , Historical genealogy , Independent alternative music
Corcoran, R. 2020. The sociology of unpopular music: permanent liminality in post Celtic Tiger Ireland. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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