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Banding Together: How Communities Create Genres in Popular Music Hardcover – February 12, 2012

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2012

"Banding Together is an essential read for fans of popular music, thanks in no small part to Lena's wealth of music knowledge, as the book draws together the studies of music communities and music genres into a coherent whole."--Martin James, Times Literary Supplement

"This book should be required reading for anyone interested in the role of music--all music--in culture. Although Lena's focus is on the rise of 20th-century American popular idioms, the questions she asks are appropriate for and applicable to a number of significant canons. . . . A significant contribution to the literature."--Choice

"Sociologists of music, as well as musical practitioners and fans, will find in Banding Together an engaging story about the commonalities shared by a variety of musical genres, despite their inherent stylistic differences. Through its wealth of examples, the book puts flesh on the otherwise counterintuitive contention that artistic creativity is a collective endeavor. Yet it goes beyond this well-established sociological observation to demonstrate how these musical art-worlds share a strikingly unified developmental grammar."--Amir Goldberg, American Journal of Sociology

"Lena demonstrates a remarkable scope of knowledge in American popular music. Integrating it with a wide research body in cultural sociology, she delivers a delightful reading for sociologists who are popular music fans. The clear analysis, rich examples and insightful observations should make this book a staple in music sociology and indeed in cultural sociology as a whole."--Motti Regev, Sociologica

From the Back Cover

"Jennifer Lena's Banding Together unleashes a fierce and exacting take on the scattered and freewheeling territory of music, offering a soothing order to the wild scufflings of performers and fans alike, and inspiring a smarter, more forthright think on a crazy untrammeled scene. In other words, it has a beat and you can dance to it."--Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket and accordionist with The Magnetic Fields

"With the world of rap as its entry point, Banding Together presents important and fresh insight into the way art is categorized in society. Jennifer Lena gives readers a smart, well-researched look at interaction and meaning in communities of music makers that will deepen our understanding of race, corporate power, identity, and social stratification."--Bill Ivey, director of the Curb Center at Vanderbilt University, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, and two-time chairman of the board of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences

"Banding Together is an original account of twentieth-century American musical styles and a thoroughly fascinating read. Through careful listening and shrewd analysis, Jennifer Lena identifies the subtle distinctions between different musical genres and the groups that produce them, as well as the surprising similarities in the behavior of their fans. The result is an intellectually exciting variation on a key theme in cultural studies, and a major contribution to the sociology of music."--Eric M. Klinenberg, New York University

"Bringing together a rigorous formal approach and a dazzling mastery of a wealth of substantive cases, Lena creates a theory of the natural history of musical genres: how the social constellations that carry new styles are born, develop, mutate, and die. This innovative work is a must-read for all students of culture."--John Levi Martin, author of Social Structures

"Ambitiously analyzing sixty musical styles and hundreds of music histories, Lena presents a strikingly coherent and convincing new theory of sociocultural classification. Impressive in its insights and methodological approach to multigenre categorization, Banding Together is the rare book that enlightens and opens up new important questions for scholars and music aficionados."--Damon Phillips, University of Chicago

"Guiding readers on an unparalleled tour of how contemporary music is subdivided, Lena's engaging book takes us deep into several genres and gives us a sense of the vast stylistic landscape. It should be required reading for any sociologist who is serious about understanding cultural classification."--Ezra Zuckerman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"With a considerable command of musical and historical materials, this engaging book finds commonalities in how musical genres operate and evolve. It shows how genres are shaped tremendously by the context in which they are based and describes their impressive range in the United States and beyond."--Timothy J. Dowd, Emory University

"A pioneering work about musical genres, Banding Together is the first book to make an argument for their different dimensions and forms, and the factors that influence their evolution. This is a clear contribution to the study of American musical history."--Shyon Baumann, University of Toronto


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (February 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691150761
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691150765
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,905,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I think we are living in a golden age in the study of cultural production. Jenn Lena's book, Banding Together, is a wonderful discussion of how musical scenes form and grow. It has really helped my clarify my thinking about how people get together and produce cultural or intellectual products. The model, I think, can be generalized to other fields as well. Definitely should be read by social scientists interested in markets and culture, as well as music fans who enjoy an analytical approach to the art.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an important book in the tradition of Sociology of Arts and Sociology of Culture. Within the Sociology of Art tradition, it is a direct heir of Pete Peterson's effort to understand how genres evolve (trajectories) and the concrete social millieus driving these trajectories. Lena does a great job in advancing this effort by proposing a new taxonomy (Avant-Garde, Scene-based, Industry-based and Traditionalist genres). In the Sociology of Culture tradition, she builts on the efforts of DiMaggio and other sociologists, and proposes a model on classification systems. I believe that this book builds solid bridges between this two fields. A must read for scholars on both disciplines.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Good read for those interested in Sociology and/or music. Can sometimes be a difficult read and requires attention as its written from a very academic frame but the author invests in carefully detailing her taxonomy for the reader. Examples given are varied and will allow most readers to learn about a style they've never considered or consider one they know in a different way.
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