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Lookup NU author(s): Professor Richard Middleton
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The blues genre is commonly (and not incorrectly) regarded as a key marker of African-American identity and one with 'deep' (folk, or 'down home') roots. But this status is inadequately understood unless it is placed in a context of inter-racial exchange, in which 'roots' are a product of a complex transaction between 'modernity' and 'tradition'. This territory is explored in terms of a thematics of loss, nostalgia and trauma, evident both in blues content and in the historical structure of revival to which the genre has been continually subject. A useful background is the film 0 Brother, Where Art Thou?, a nostalgic celebration of nostalgia with a blues/bluegrass inter-racial dimension, and a productive theoretical framework is provided by Lacan's approach to fantasy, loss and nostalgia.
Author(s): Middleton R
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Popular Music
ISSN (print): 0261-1430
ISSN (electronic): 1474-0095
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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