'Against the rest': fanzines and alternative music cultures in Ireland
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This thesis investigates the role of fanzines in developing music communities in Ireland. It explores these fan-produced texts from the emergence of the first Irish punk fanzines in 1977 to the present, questioning their significance, while critiquing previous studies into fanzine cultures (Duncombe, 2008; Triggs, 2010). It looks at how ‘authenticity’ is a central construct in the design, content, and dissemination of these artefacts, establishing a ‘dominant representational paradigm’ (Hamilton, 1997) for the production and consumption of fanzines. Fanzines are primarily found in alternative music cultures, and this work situates the makers and users as members of local ‘scenes’ (Cohen, 1991; Straw, 1991), and proposes a more fluid or tribal (Maffesoli, 1996; Bennett, 1999) framework, where communities are formed through shared taste (Bourdieu, 1984). Central to this work is the position of capital, particularly Bourdieu’s concepts of cultural capital and social capital. It also examines the role of such capital in developing fan hierarchies, particularly in local music-making activities (Finnegan, 1989). This work crucially positions the fanzine as a fan practice, and the fans that made and consumed these works will be analysed to determine the range of (popular music) fandom (Duffett, 2014) in Irish DIY (do-it-yourself) cultures. Finally, this study explores whether there has been a significant paradigmatic shift in fan media with the emergence of new technologies. This research incorporates extensive qualitative fieldwork with fanzine makers, collectors, and music-makers, along with a thorough study of various music fanzines. This data analysis finds that the fanzine was an important facilitator in independent music communities between the last 1970s and early 2000s, existing outside the mainstream, but is now an even more niche mode of communication.
Music communities in Ireland