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Political Music

Legitimization and Contestation


Edited By Tomasz Bichta and Anna Szwed-Walczak

In the 12 chapters of this book the authors argue for the universal presence of music in public space and social relations. The examples of American, British, Hungarian, Polish and Russian music serve to elucidate two functions of political music, that of legitimizing and contesting political power. Both satirical songs with their ironic commentary on specific events and people as well as protest songs undermining the system corroborate the universal character of the legitimizing and delegitimizing function of music. The book is addressed to readers interested in countercultural movements and politically engaged music, especially to students of political studies, sociology and cultural studies.

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to a discussion on the functions of political music. The author elucidates the symbolic impact of music and its role in the ritualization of political processes. He presents examples of ←8 | 9→the use of music to legitimize political power over the centuries in various political systems. He likewise discusses instances of music that opposes the socio-political order.

Krystyna Leszczyńska’s chapter titled “The Political Consequences of Media Popularity for the Rock Singer Krzysztof Cugowski” is, in turn, a case study of a popular artist turning into an active politician. The author poses a question whether political career is an apt choice of public activity for an acknowledged musician. She also draws attention to the attempts of “professional” politicians to include on their electoral lists well-known people of the entertainment world.

Krystsina Kostseva in the text “Affiliating with the Russian Shanson: The Culture of Protest or the Propaganda of an Oppressive Power?” presents the results of her research into the genre of Russian blatnaya pesnyas. She shows the evolution of the songs and their deployment to legitimize or delegitimize power.

The following two articles focus on the delegitimization of political power in satirical songs. Tomasz Koziełło analyses cabaret songs used to criticize the socio-political reality of the post-1989 Poland. In the chapter “The Cabaret Song’s Contribution to the Analysis of Socio-Political Realities of the Third Republic of Poland” the author categorizes themes raised in the Polish satirical song. Agnieszka Grzegorczyk, in turn, in...

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