Reporter 425, 19 October 1998

Popular Music Seminar

Meeting 1: Wednesday 28th October 1998 4:30pm, Lecture Room 2, Department of Music, Cromer Terrace

Stuart Borthwick (Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies, Liverpool John Moores University)

House Music, Television and the Ecstasy Generation: A Goldmannian Analysis

Common-sense discourse on the relationship between young people and television suggests that young people `mindlessly' consume televisual texts of little complexity and of little aesthetic worth. In this paper I formulate a model of the relationship between house and techno music, contemporary dance culture, and televisual re-presentations of contemporary dance culture that demonstrates that the relationship between young people and television is far more sophisticated than common-sense discourse suggests. The method employed in this paper is primarily influenced by the `genetic structuralism' of Lucien Goldmann, in particular his texts The Hidden God and Towards a Sociology of the Novel. Within this work Goldmann suggests that the fundamental relationship between societal groups and the texts that they produce is not found in the content of those texts, but is found in what he describes as `the form of the content'. In The Hidden God, Goldmann suggests that there is a structural homology between the works of Pascal and Racine and the social position of the noblesse de la robe. Writing in the 1970s Paul Willis took this method (which originates in the literary analyses of Marx contained within The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte) and applied it to the relationship between hippy culture, progressive rock and the consumption of LSD, suggesting that a homologous relationship is `concerned with how far, in their structure and content, particular items parallel and reflect the structure, style, typical concerns, attitudes and feelings of the social group'. Within my analysis I take this notion of homologous structures and apply it to the `form of the content' of house and techno music, contemporary populist dance (`raving'), the experience of Ecstasy consumption, and television programmes that re-present dance culture, such as the ITV networked text BPM.

Free Wine and Crisps will be served during Questions

Everyone Welcome!

All interested parties are welcome, and meetings are held in Lecture Room 2 at Leeds University Department of Music in Cromer Terrace, LS2 9JT. Enquiries should be directed to: Dr. Steve Sweeney-Turner, tel.: 233-2582; e-mail:

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