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Dancing About Architecture: Popular Music Criticism and the Negotiation of Authority
Unformatted Document Text:  Dancing About Architecture: Popular Music Criticism and the Negotiation of Authority This paper addresses the impact of the culture divide on the establishment of critical authority through the examination of popular music critics. In-depth interviews with music critics illustrate some ways in which the popular culture critic’s experience might be distinguished from that of high culture critics. If criticism has the ability to elevate the status of the object it evaluates, this paper argues that, in the case of popular criticism, the cultural object has the ability to lower the status of the critic. It suggests that, lacking the formal training characteristic of higher critics, popular music critics must establish their cultural authority by consistently displaying their qualifications – proficiency as a writer, breadth of knowledge, and studied judgment regardless of personal preferences – through their work. Likewise, it analyzes how aspects of the roles, relationships and resources managed by popular music critics can potentially create obstacles to the establishment of cultural authority in the realm of the popular.

Authors: Klein, Bethany.
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Dancing About Architecture: Popular Music Criticism and
the Negotiation of Authority
This paper addresses the impact of the culture divide on the establishment of critical
authority through the examination of popular music critics. In-depth interviews with music
critics illustrate some ways in which the popular culture critic’s experience might be
distinguished from that of high culture critics. If criticism has the ability to elevate the status of
the object it evaluates, this paper argues that, in the case of popular criticism, the cultural object
has the ability to lower the status of the critic. It suggests that, lacking the formal training
characteristic of higher critics, popular music critics must establish their cultural authority by
consistently displaying their qualifications – proficiency as a writer, breadth of knowledge, and
studied judgment regardless of personal preferences – through their work. Likewise, it analyzes
how aspects of the roles, relationships and resources managed by popular music critics can
potentially create obstacles to the establishment of cultural authority in the realm of the popular.


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