Popular Music in France from Chanson to Techno: Culture, Identity and Society, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Popular Music in France from Chanson to Techno

Culture, Identity and Society, 1st Edition

By Steve Cannon

Edited by Hugh Dauncey


296 pages

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In France during the 1960s and 1970s, popular music became a key component of socio-cultural modernisation as the music/record industry became increasingly important in both economic and cultural terms in response to demographic changes and the rise of the modern media. As France began questioning traditional ways of understanding politics and culture before and after May 1968, music as popular culture became an integral part of burgeoning media activity. Press, radio and television developed free from de Gaulle's state domination of information, and political activism shifted its concerns to the use of regional languages and regional cultures, including the safeguard of traditional popular music against the centralising tendencies of the Republican state. The cultural and political significance of French music was again revealed in the 1990s, as French-language music became a highly visible example of France's quest to maintain her cultural 'exceptionalism' in the face of the perceived globalising hegemony of English and US business and cultural imperialism. Laws were passed instituting minimum quotas of French-language music. The 1980s and 1990s witnessed developing issues raised by new technologies, as compact discs, the minitel telematics system, the internet and other innovations in radio and television broadcasting posed new challenges to musicians and the music industry. These trends and developments are the subject of this volume of essays by leading scholars across a range of disciplines including French studies, musicology, cultural and media studies and film studies. It constitutes the first attempt to provide a complete and up-to-date overview of the place of popular music in modern France and the reception of French popular music abroad.


'… an immensely valuable collection of essays, enriched by a jewel of a bibliography that will surely inspire scholars in the interdisciplinary field of French cultural studies, where history and sociology come together with high, low and middlebrow forms of expressions.' H-France Reviews

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword; Preface: Music, modernization and popular identity, R. Middleton; The study of popular music between sociology and aesthetics - a survey of current research in France, P. Leguern; In form the margins: chanson, pop and cultural legitimacy, D. Looseley; The French music industry: structures, challenges and responses, H. Dauncey; Popular music on French radio and television, G. Hare; The popular music press, M. Pires; The disintegration of community: popular music in French cinema 1945, P. Powrie; Le Demy-monde: the bewitched, betwixt and between French musical, R. Stilwell; Chanson engagée and political activism in the 1950s and 1960s: Léo Ferré and Georges Brassens, C. Tinker; Divided loyalties: singing in the Occupation, C. Lloyd; Rock and culture in France: ways, processes and conditions of integration, P. Teillet; Globalization, Americanization and hip hop in France, S. Cannon; Flaubert's sparrow or the Bovary of Belleville? Edith Piaf as cultural icon, K. Reader; French electronic music: the invention of a tradition, P. Birgy; Conclusion: French popular music, cultural exception and globalization, H. Dauncey and S. Cannon; Annex; Bibliography.

About the Series

Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series

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.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General