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Saved by Rock ‘n’ Roll: Lou Reed, His Fans, and the Becoming of the (Marginal) Self

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>26/09/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Studies in Symbolic Interaction
Volume47
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)1-20
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

My focus in this paper is on the meaning that rock music has for fans of Lou Reed. I use the comments following his death as my primary data. These data were posted on the New York Times website in the comments section following the report “Outsider Whose Dark, Lyrical Vision Helped Shape Rock ‘n’ Roll.” From these data I develop what I call “the marginal self” in reference to how rock music helps self-identified marginalized persons to deal with their social exclusion and alienation. Drawing on Kotarba’s (2012) analytic categories of the self, I will show how these data give insight into a wide range of existential meanings related to the music of Lou Reed. For many who wrote these comments their reading of Lou Reed has been an essential transformative part of their life in similar ways to baby boomers as outlined in Kotarba’s (2012) Baby Boomers Rock ‘n’ Roll Fans: The Music Never Ends. I first show how Kotarba’s (2012) core concepts of the musical self provide insight into how fans of Lou Reed develop a sense of self through Reed’s music. I then turn to a discussion of the marginalized self as a development of Kotarba’s (2012) categories of “authenticity work” and “becoming of the self.” Suggestions for future research are noted.

Bibliographic note

This article is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.