Popular music as cultural heritage: scoping out the field of practice

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This paper sets out to deepen our understanding of the relationship between popular music and cultural heritage and to delineate the practices of popular music as cultural heritage. The paper illustrates how the term has been mobilised by a variety of actors, from the public to the private sector, to highlight the value of particular popular music manifestations and justify or encourage their preservation and diffusion for posterity. We focus on Austria, England, France and the Netherlands – countries with diverse popular music histories and with varying national and international reach. Popular music heritage is present in national and local public sector heritage institutions and practices in a number of ways. These range from the preservation and exhibition of the material culture of heritage in museums and archives, to a variety of ‘bottom-up’ initiatives, delineating a rich landscape of emblematic places, valued for their attachment to particular musicians or music scenes. The paper points to an underlying tension between the adoption and replication of conventional heritage practices to the preservation and remembrance of the popular music and its celebration as an expression of the dynamism of contemporary popular culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-240
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Heritage Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2013


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