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Critical negotiations: rock criticism in the Nordic countries

Issue: Vol 1 No. 3 (2004)

Journal: Popular Music History

Subject Areas: Popular Music

DOI: 10.1558/pomh.2006.1.3.241


This article examines the development of rock criticism in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland in the light of the Bourdieuian theory of cultural fields. We establish that fields with distinct autonomous poles do develop in each country between 1965 and 1980 but that it is not possible to talk about a common, Nordic field. Instead, each national field has to a large extent followed the general developments in the British or American fields (e.g. postmodern lifestyle criticism, consumer guidance, described in Lindberg et al. 2005) and taken in at least some of the specific characteristics of Anglo-American rock criticism while at the same time relating to and challenging, among other things, local literary and political traditions. One main difference, though, is that Nordic criticism to a large extent has been developed in daily newspapers and less so in specialized magazines. In a centre-periphery perspective it is interesting to notice that even though Nordic rock music has begun to blur the borders between the poles, local rock criticism has probably never been read outside its country of origin, mainly due to language barriers. On the other hand local rock criticism has helped question centre-periphery relations from the inside, i.e. how the foreign music made sense locally for both listeners and musicians.

Author: Ulf Lindberg, Gestur Gudmundsson, Morten Michelsen, Hans Weisethaunet

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