A manifesto for metal studies: or putting the ‘politics of metal’ in its place

Brown, A.R (2018) 'A manifesto for metal studies: or putting the ‘politics of metal’ in its place.' Metal Music Studies, 4 (2). pp. 343-363. ISSN 2052-3998

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1386/mms.4.2.343_1


This article proposes that metal studies can benefit from a knowledge of the struggles that have taken place in academia, between scholars and within and between different disciplines, over the issue of the role of the consecrated academic as mediator, critic, interpreter and advocate, in relation to popular cultural formations and the social and cultural groups identified with them. I explore how this dynamic is played-out in a number of periods identified with notable theorists and/or academic schools that give rise to a ‘politics’ that can inform a possible politics of metal studies. These include Gramsci’s account of the ‘traditional’ and the ‘organic’ intellectual; Stuart Hall and the ‘cultural politics’ of the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) school; Simon Frith on the ‘political’ pleasures of the ‘fan-intellectual’; Charlotte Brunsdon on the ‘feminist, the housewife and the soap opera’; Richard Middleton on ‘vernacular practice’ and the Low-Other; Matt Hills on the ‘proper place’ (‘un lieu propre’) of theory according to the academic-fan and the fan-academic. Finally, how these conflicts of legitimation can be placed within a revised model of Bourdieu’s ‘cultural field’ as it applies to the academy and the habitus of ‘Homo Academicvs’. I conclude by suggesting that the role of the metallectual and the politics of metal studies needs to be tempered by an increased reflexive awareness of the metal-scholar in relation to their fandom and tested through a more explicit self-analysis of ‘class-habitus’, as both a guide to the limits of political judgments and possible interventions into metal music, metal fandom and the global metal scene.

Item Type: Article

academic-fan/fan-academic; appropriation/exclusion; cultural-classed relations; feminist media and cultural studies; organic intellectual; self-analysis; theory club; vernacular knowledge

Divisions: Bath School of Art, Film and Media
UoA: Cultural, Communication Studies & Media
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1386/mms.4.2.343_1
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2018 15:29
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2022 15:43
URI / Page ID: https://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/11449
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