Popular music has long understood that human rights, if attainable at all, involve a struggle without end. The right to imagine an individual will, the right to some form of self-determination and the right to self-legislation have long been at the forefront of popular music's approach to human rights. At a time of such uncertainty and confusion, with human rights currently being violated all over the world, a new and sustained examination of cultural responses to such issues is warranted. In this respect music, which is always produced in a social context, is an extremely useful medium; in its immediacy music has a potency of expression whose reach is long and wide. Contributors to this significant volume cover artists and topics such as Billy Bragg, punk, Fun-da-Mental, Willie King and the Liberators, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, the Anti-Death Penalty movement, benefit concerts, benefit albums, Gil Scott-Heron, Bruce Springsteen, Wounded Knee and Native American political resistance, Tori Amos, Joni Mitchell, as well as human rights in relation to feminism. A second volume covers World Music.
'Anyone interested in the topic of popular music and human rights can begin here. The volume gives an empirically grounded introduction to a variety of perspectives on the topic. It shows how human rights issues in popular music are embedded in everyday identity politics and media consumption. Moreover, the volume illustrates the complexity of music as a medium of expression in creating pleasure and discontent, coherence and unrest, individualism and collectivity.' Fabian Holt, Roskilde University, Denmark
Popular musicology embraces the field of musicological study that engages with popular forms of music, especially music associated with commerce, entertainment and leisure activities. The Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series aims to present the best research in this field. Authors are concerned with criticism and analysis of the music itself, as well as locating musical practices, values and meanings in cultural context. The focus of the series is on popular music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with a remit to encompass the entirety of the world’s popular music.
Critical and analytical tools employed in the study of popular music are being continually developed and refined in the twenty-first century. Perspectives on the transcultural and intercultural uses of popular music have enriched understanding of social context, reception and subject position. Popular genres as distinct as reggae, township, bhangra, and flamenco are features of a shrinking, transnational world. The series recognizes and addresses the emergence of mixed genres and new global fusions, and utilizes a wide range of theoretical models drawn from anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis, media studies, semiotics, postcolonial studies, feminism, gender studies and queer studies.