Much of my work examines the contemporary social and cultural significance of what might be referred to as "rejected knowledge." I am particularly interested in ideas developed within alternative spiritual discourses, in the significance of beliefs in the occult and the paranormal, and in countercultures. In recent years, I have sought to articulate a theory of ‘occulture’ in order to explain the persistence of such ideas in the modern Western world and the influence of popular culture in the shaping of those ideas. I am particularly interested in the importance of popular music in this respect. Indeed, with reference to the above interests, exploring the social significance of popular music has been the principal focus of my research for the past decade. I co-edit the series Studies in Popular Music (Equinox) and Studies in Religion and Popular Music (Bloomsbury).
I would be happy to supervise doctoral research in the following areas:
- Popular music and the sacred
- Contemporary occultism and alternative spiritualities.
- Cultures of the paranormal.
(1) My current principal area of interest lies at the interface of Popular Music Studies and Religious Studies. With Alyn Shipton, I edit the series Studies in Popular Music and, with Sara Cohen (Liverpool University), I edit the series Studies in Religion and Popular Music.
(2) Countercultures and subcultures in the West.
(3) Alternative spiritualities, esotericism and paranormal cultures.