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Popular music fanzines: genre, aesthetics, and the “Democratic Conversation”

Atton, Chris


Chris Atton


Research into fanzines has tended to locate them as subcultural artefacts whose significance is found in their symbolic fit with the subculture responsible for producing them. As a consequence, fanzines have mostly been interpreted homologically as acts of political resistance, with little attention being paid to the aesthetic arguments they contain. By contrast, to consider fanzines as types of genre-cultures it becomes possible to examine amateur writing about music not as explicitly oppositional, but as contributions to the critical discourse of popular music. This article explores a single fanzine to examine the ways in which its writers – and the musicians it features - evaluate the music they favour. A genre-culture approach offers insights into the cultural politics of fanzine writing that take into account historically situated and contemporary constructions of genre pleasures.


Atton, C. (2010). Popular music fanzines: genre, aesthetics, and the “Democratic Conversation”. Popular Music and Society, 33, 517-531.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2010-10
Deposit Date Aug 24, 2010
Print ISSN 0300-7766
Electronic ISSN 1740-1712
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 33
Pages 517-531
Keywords fanzines; subculture; genre-culture; popular music; cultural politics;
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