Oct 2019

ISBN 978-1-9130295-5-5


Dialectic of Pop

Original Edition
£24.00 / $29.95
  • Paperback
  • 210×148mm

Edition supported by  Institut Français du Royaume-Uni

  • Norm

    Translated by

    • Nina Power
    • Daniel Miller

    In the first major philosophical treatise on the specificity of pop music as an art form, Agnès Gayraud explores all the paradoxes of pop: its in/authenticity, its mass production of emotion and personal resonance, its relation to consumer capitalism, and its engineering of mass seduction.

    Through careful philosophical analyses with and against philosophers including Adorno, Rousseau, and Kant, and contemporary theorists such as Greil Marcus and Simon Reynolds, alongside close listening to well-known hits by artists from ABBA to Beyoncé, from Buddy Holly to Drake, Dialectic of Pop tracks the transformation of pop music and its audience over the course of the twentieth century, singing the praises of a constitutively impure artform, the result of an encounter between industrial production and the human predilection for song.

    Producing its own specific forms and its own listening subject, pop scrambles notions of authenticity and inauthenticity, original and copy, medium and message. Inseparable from the materiality of its technical media (from the vinyl record to the synth, from the radio to the MP3 player), indifferent and intractable to the perspectives of high culture, the culture of pop, far from being the artless and trivial mass-produced pabulum denigrated by Adorno, is revealed as a rich, self-reflexive artform with unsuspected depths—leading finally to consideration of the prospects for twenty-first century pop.