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3.1 out of 5 stars
Music and Politics (PCPC - Polity Contemporary Political Communication Series)
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Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This subject is one close to me. I've always said that no-one changes their political views starting from a position of logical argument. We start with our hearts and not our heads. Thus political arts and music in particular seems to me to be of enormous importance; one only needs to think of Vicor Jara, Sylvio Rodriguez, Pablo Milanes, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, or indeed it doesn't take much further thought to come up with Wagner and Shostakovitch.
Having written that pre-amble and explained introduced my interest in the subject matter I have to say that this is a book very much for the head rather than the heart. It is deeply academic, and always scrupulously examines every angle to a question, and asks what has been argued before. The trouble is that it often doesn't seem to get anywhere; it doesn't make up its mind. Rather than producing evidence to support a well argued position, it seems to get stuck at the point of assembling evidence. It's not that there is an absence of interesting facts; there is a wealth of interesting information to absorb here, but oh dear! it's hard work.
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VINE VOICEon 26 February 2012
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Whilst this book raises some interesting points, I will admit on a number of occasions to having to put it down without planning to return to it over the last two months. Perhaps it was my fault, but at times I found the book difficult going. My expectations were perhaps for something more `readable' and engaging rather than what at times represents a university course book on what I had thought to be an interesting subject. The book particularly focussed on the period from the 1950's to 1970's, talking about how `music' reacted against a political background. However, the book then seemed to randomly select more recent case studies that sometimes didn't seem to hold an interest, relevance or context to me. An example is the bits on racism that seemed not to hold any contextualisation between the politics and the actual music with points being made in isolation. Street is clearly knowledgeable on his subject, and whilst this book will certainly assist anyone studying this area, personally I was disappointed that I couldn't engage with it more.
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Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Actually, this is a terrific book. Powerful, thought-provoking, challenging- it really makes you think about both the explicit and implicit links between politics and music. So why are the reviewers so half-hearted about it? Well, they're right, too! The casual reader will find the text impenetrable, complex and highly academic. There's a popular accessible book to be written about this stuff- and this ain't it!Which is a shame. But let's not criticise an apple for being a bad orange, when it's a rather good apple...
This IS a sociological treatise, an exploration of links between political theory and popular culture. And it's a rather good one. So buckle your seat-belts, focus your concentration, and read with care... If you do all this, you'll really enjoy the provocative writing and challenging ideas. Not for everyone- but for those who will persevere, this is good stuff...
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VINE VOICEon 15 June 2012
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book seems to be aimed at students of music or politics and offers a broad overview of the ways in which the two have interacted. Examples used are diverse and discussed in some detail, and the book covers a range of important themes such as censorship, political protest and the idea of music as politics - suggesting that it can be an intrinsic part of political expression. Street suggests that the very act of creating music can be seen as an important political gesture and uses this as a guiding theme through the volume. This is an academic volume aimed at a student audience, so is not likely to appeal to anyone with only a casual interest in the topic. Similarly, as a broad introduction, it is unlikely to satisfy anyone with a strong interest in one particular example of music and politics interacting, as its aim is rather more general.
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VINE VOICEon 27 June 2012
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As this book deals with 2 subjects that I've always had more than a passing interest in I was looking forward to an interesting and entertaing read.
Unfortunately these aspects were few and far between as the book is very much written in an academic style and although I found parts of it educational I struggled to complete it.However,praise is due for the amount of research that must have been undertaken in the compilation of this book and I think I may well refer to it again in the future.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Professor John Street has come up with a very interesting book on the relationship between music and politics - in fact he comes to the conclusion that the two are pretty inseparable as he delves into the intricacies of this often difficult relationship as musicians use politics and politicians (try to?) use music.

Be warned, this is a quite deep, social and psychological study that delves a lot deeper than the usual stories of artists who have gone overtly or discretely political or had their careers affected by attempted blacklisting such as folk singer Pete Seeger and others.

The book analyses music's political power that has seen many popular musicians claim to speak for or represent peoples and political movements, some out of conviction, others to jump on a popular bandwagon and sell more product. There is also an interesting (much too) short section entitled "Amazonia - The Revenge Of The Citizen Critic?"

Prof. Street joins up many theories and ideas about music's political significance going back to Aristotle, Rousseau and onwards to justify his thesis that music and politics are inseparably joined and each both feeds off and animates the other.

John Street is Professor of Politics at the University of East Anglia, has taught at Merton College, Oxford, is a life long academic and has over 70 published books and articles to his name. (There is one I just love the title of, written with Sanna Inthorn, published in the New Political Science 32 (4) pgs 471-484 and called "You're An American Rapper, But What Do You Know? The Political Uses of British And U.S. Popular Culture On First Time Voters In The U.K.).

Prof. Street has a knowledge of music that would put most of us to shame, he wrote music reviews for The Times newspaper for more than 10 years and his passion for both subjects come across in this, in my opinion, not always easy to read, less than 200 page volume including a comprehensive reference section of sources and further reading if you wish to take this sociological study further.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 21 December 2011
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Which reflects a society more its politics or its music? Recently it was stated that more people voted in the latest X Factor tv programme than in the last general election!!

Music has historically always had the power to move people from riot to trance, can the same ever be said about politics. Politics has no real soundtrack merely a contextual incidental use of contemporary music. We have seen often politicians embracing (literally) the music makers as a way of appealing to a disenfranchised youth culture that can make no sense of the verbose speeches of over paid politicians and yearn for their musical heroes to come up with the answers.

Rebel songs, protest songs, banned songs, all have had their appeal in popular culture but do they corrupt? Were more people made rebellious by the songs of Bob Dylan than the speeches of George W. Bush?

Any reader who has been to a great music festival will know the unbelievable sensation of losing one's individuality to the crowd's emotion not unlike the experience of a generation of young people at Nurenberg in the 1930s.

John Street has written at great length in this book and in several others of how music and politics can positively serve each other. Music can bring masses together in an unprecedented way, witness not only the annual festivals at Glastonbury et al but also the Nelson Mandela concert which actually made more difference than any political action in history and the Live Aid concerts which actually changed the world's attitude to poverty even if it did not solve the problem.

If these events are measured against the constant empty rhetoric and promise bargaining of politicians fighting to save their jobs by lying and cheating is it any wonder that any right-thinking folk will choose to give more time and devotion to the music that can lift the soul. Politics effects on music appear to be little more than financial control and the ability to ban, in an attempt to control, any such musician who refuses to be state controlled.

This book is an academic polemic with one man's tastes and opinions that does appeal to a universal reader seeking some excellent debate on the state of popular culture's relevance and status in a modern world where celebrity has become more of an attitude of mind than a reward for good work
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