Performing fandom on the British Northern soul scene : competition, identity and the post-subcultural self

Smith, NJ 2009, Performing fandom on the British Northern soul scene : competition, identity and the post-subcultural self , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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The Northern Soul scene involves the direct acquisition of rare, obscure 1960s black American soul records and the relocation of this music into an alien locality. The records - often poor emulations of the Motown sound - were disregarded, and subsequently discarded, by intended audiences. With a treasure trove of rare records laid forgotten, the Northern Soul record collector began his search for the ignored vinyl gems that would soon become Northern Soul classics. This search continues today, as does the scene. But while all else remains the same, the continuing participants age. Northern Soul is a unique fusion of borrowing authenticity and creating originality. This thesis explores the source of this authenticity and the performance of this originality as it occurs on dancefloors, at record stalls and behind the disc jockey's decks. Fans perform their most authentic variant of Northern Soul to present a uniqueness of self. The result is a combination of competitive individualism and collective belonging. The manner in which participants display this dualism is the subject of the thesis. Stemming from a predominantly qualitative approach and based within interpretative sociology, this thesis incorporates theories of identity construction, the performance of identity, symbolic interactionism and the post-subcultural. Via an ethnographic methodology, the fan perspective, fan reception of music, and the processes, practices and performances of competency, skill and connoisseurship are examined as pathways to scene belonging, status and self. This thesis aims to shed light on an academically neglected aspect of popular music culture (the Northern Soul scene) while also expanding the growing body of work surrounding post-subcultural paradigms, popular dance and the feminine experience in music cultures. The prioritisation of the master narrative of youth will be questioned in a bid to push the boundaries of popular music studies into an acknowledgement of ageing music scene participation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Depositing User: USIR Admin
Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2017 08:56
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 20:41

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