Chapter 8 Popular Music, Conspiracy Culture, and the Sacred

In: Handbook of Conspiracy Theory and Contemporary Religion
Christopher Partridge
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This chapter discusses a number of conspiracies surrounding popular music culture and popular musicians. It examines the processes by which some popular music fans become ‘devotees’ of musicians, claiming for them, an elevated, identifiably religious significance. Consequently, it is often difficult for the fan-devotee to accept the death of the musician. The result is a process of ‘transfiguration’ and mythologization, which typically includes the development of conspiracy narratives. It also examines the reception of popular music within some conservative cultures and the construction of conspiracies about its subversive, affective power. There are analyses of discourses which claim that it has been used by communists and/or demons to undermine Christian societies. There is also some discussion of ‘back-masking’ and claims that rock musicians embed ideas in their music that manipulate young people into committing acts of violence, including suicide.

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