‘Back in the Day’: Experiencing and Retelling the Past as a Claim to Belong in the Current Northern Soul Scene

Raine, Sarah (2019) ‘Back in the Day’: Experiencing and Retelling the Past as a Claim to Belong in the Current Northern Soul Scene. In: Remembering Popular Music’s Past: Memory-Heritage-History. Anthem Press. ISBN 9781783089703

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This chapter draws on a three-year ethnographic study of the British northern soul scene. It explores how the past enters into experience of the present scene and how this past is used in claims to membership by younger members of a music scene that values ‘original’ participation in the 1970s. Through ethnographic observations, I reveal how personal and shared engagements with the past and with the passing of time are encoded into the rituals of the “all-nighter” event and how “soul time” is organised through the stories of northern soul nights, told and retold by an older generation of scene participants in their claim to authentic participation. These recollections of the past are for, and listened to by, a younger generation of scene members.

For the individuals that declare to be part of a shared history and a shared present, these stories both create a collective understanding of time and offer a means to claim to have experienced these important times, or to understand the past through considered and empathetic knowledge. Drawing on the work of Nicholas Gebhardt and Hayden White, I interpret these activities as cultural processes of “patching up” through which this younger generation build an experience of the past from an assortment of materials. The version of the past created by younger members of the scene in their claims to belong notably distils different political and cultural experience and reference points from those who take centre stage in the official history. This chapter explores how these emerging discourses of a new northern soul are encoded into the material culture of young scene members and in their negotiations of the dominant narrative of the scene’s history.

Item Type: Book Section
1 June 2019Published
Subjects: CAH24 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01-05 - media studies
CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-02 - performing arts > CAH25-02-02 - music
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > College of English and Media
Depositing User: Sarah Raine
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2019 08:49
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 15:59
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/8251

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