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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The new traditionalists: Folk music, authenticity and modernity in Cold War America, 1958-1962
by Moore, Stephen, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2011, 145; 1499277
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis is a study of the relationship between the image of folk music and its contemporary cultural contexts. Two approaches to folk music emerged in the United States in the late 1950s and early 1960s as the popularity of the music rose to unprecedented heights. Popularized version of folk songs played as entertainment made up one side. Revivalists and amateur folklorists, playing folk music as a vital piece of a progressive history and as a critique of the failures of modernity dominated the other side. The two sides of the folk debate that emerged spoke to their contemporary cultural contexts. There was an intersection of meaning between the academic and political views of history and traditionalism and artistic representations of history and traditional cultures as presented by folk music. These two approaches, though they used the same cultural product and drew from the same canon, put the music into practice in contradictory ways. Revivalists viewed pop folk as inherently antithetical to the idea of folk, and they attempted to exclude the work of popular artists from the definition of folk. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the attempts made by historical actors to control meaning of folk music and how those strategies relied on their cultural contexts for their intelligibility.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Luhr, Eileen
School: California State University, Long Beach
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 50/01M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: American history, Folklore, Music
Publication Number: 1499277
ISBN: 978-1-124-85770-1
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