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Political Music

Legitimization and Contestation

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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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The Significance of Political Music for the Image Creation of Polish Prime Ministers

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Agnieszka Zofia Grzegorczyk1

Abstract: This chapter constitutes an analysis of the impact that political music has on the creation of a politician’s image and the degree to which musical compositions are used to strengthen or weaken the politician’s social reception. Researching the image of Polish Prime Ministers, the author scrutinizes the context in which and the approach with which given songs are created as well as the extent to which leadership is linked in those songs to the image of a given Prime Minister. An analysis of four songs, of different genres, linked to specific Prime Ministers constitutes an example of a cross-sectional deployment of music to shape the image of the Prime Minister. Notably, these songs were not used in election campaigns but rather functioned as an artistic commentary on political reality. Analysing the lyrics of the songs, the chapter draws attention to the variety of components adding up to a politician’s image as well as to the impact this image has on the type of political leadership represented by the Prime Minister in question. Making use of concepts typical not only of political science, the author encourages the reader to look more broadly on the role and influence of music within the political sphere, starting with theoretical reflections and ending on their implementation within individual songs.

Keywords: political music, politician’s image, political leadership, Prime Minister, political reality

When modes of music change, the fundamental laws of the state always change with them.2...

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