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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Avant-Garde and the Everyday: Theorizing Points of Contact
by Fawcett, Daniel J., M.A., Bowling Green State University, 2012, 167; 10817815
Abstract (Summary)

The Avant-Garde and the Everyday investigates two overdetermined terms in cultural theory: the avant-garde and the everyday. In so doing, I hope to demonstrate points of contact between the two ideas. Specifically, I hope to show that the avantgarde, in its mode of challenging and questioning authority and institutionalized discourses, is engaging in a complex project of reclaiming everyday life from corporatized mass-culture.

To accomplish this goal, I situated my investigation of avant-gardeist practice in the site of New York rock band The Velvet Underground as a specific instantiation of the avant-garde. I analyzed the theories of Peter Bürger’s Theory of the Avant-Garde and located The Velvet Underground as a neo-avant-gardeist critique of the institutional culture of music. This was compared against Henri Lefebvre’s Critique of Everyday Life and Michel de Certeau’s The Practice of Everyday Life as a way to explore the issues of the avant-gardeist critique. Other sites of inquiry included Joseph Branden’s article “My Mind Split Open” and Victor Bokris’ Up-Tight for information about the practice of The Velvet Underground as it was interpreted by the people who were involved at the time.

I believe that I demonstrated that Peter Bürger’s theories of the avant-garde are too narrow; he locates the avant-garde in only two sources, both of them aesthetic. It is my contention that the avant-garde is much more broad and explicitly political in its aims.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Dickinson, Philip
Commitee: Sloane, Robert
School: Bowling Green State University
Department: English
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: MAI 57/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Modern literature, American studies, Performing Arts
Keywords: Avant-garde, Everyday life, Velvet underground
Publication Number: 10817815
ISBN: 978-0-355-84399-6
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