• 256 pages
  • 7 x 10
  • 3 tables, 3 halftones
  • Price: $38.95
  • EAN: 9781566399906
  • Publication: Dec 2002
  • Price: $80.50
  • EAN: 9781566399890
  • Publication: Jan 2003
  • Price: $38.95
  • EAN: 9781439901380

Policing Pop

edited by Martin Cloonan and Reebee Garofalo

Fans and detractors of popular music tend to agree on one thing: popular music is a bellwether of an individual's political and cultural values. In the United States, for example, one cannot think of the counterculture apart from its music. For that reason, in virtually every country in the world, some group identifies popular music as a source of potential danger and wants to regulate it. Policing Pop looks into the many ways in which popular music and artists around the world are subjected to censorship, ranging from state control and repression to the efforts of special interest or religious groups to limit expression.

The essays collected here focus on the forms of censorship as well as specific instances of how the state and other agencies have attempted to restrict the types of music produced, recorded and performed within a culture. Several show how even unsuccessful attempts to exert the power of the state can cause artists to self-censor. Others point to material that taxes even the most liberal defenders of free speech. Taken together, these essays demonstrate that censoring agents target popular music all over the world, and they raise questions about how artists and the public can resist the narrowing of cultural expression.


"Policing Pop not only provides a fascinating survey of the ways in which pop has been censored and restricted, it also makes an eloquent argument for the political and social importance of popular music. This book serves as a rich reminder of how songs can make the powerful nervous and the powerless bold." John Street, University of East Anglia

"Music censorship! What censorship? Policing Pop introduces the reader to the underlying mechanisms of music censorship and its effects on individuals and society in different parts of the world. Policing Pop will inspire and challenge further dissemination and the unveiling of appalling cases as well as concealed causes for censorship in this hitherto disregarded area of academic research." Marie Korpe, Executive Director, Freemuse (Freedom of Musical Expression), The World Forum on Music & Censorship

"This fascinating, albeit at times disturbing, read will make you nod in agreement or sigh in disbelief at the measures people have taken to control popular music." Multicultural Review

"Policing Pop works well as a collection that reinforces the common themes of music regulation and practice, and is an effective teaching text for popular music and cultural studies." Perfect Beat

"All in all, Policing Pop takes the reader on quite a ride. Its contributing authors include, among others, musicologists, sociologists, and law professors who offer intellectually rewarding insights and eloquent arguments for the political and cultural importance of popular music, something with which even young people would agree, if they could be enticed to read them." Popular Music and Society

"(A)n invigorating and thought-provoking selection of essays...it’s a fascinating read...With its easily accessible style and deep relevance, Policing Pop is hopefully already on the reading list of every Media Culture and Society and related courses. Its pink cover and sexy PP title will ensure it will walk off the shelves for those who still frequent bookshops." Popular Music

About the Author(s)

Martin Cloonan teaches Popular Music Culture at the University of Glasgow and is the author of Banned! Censorship of Popular Music in Britain, 1967-1992.

Reebee Garofalo is Professor at the College of Public and Community Service and is affiliated with the American Studies Program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston; his most recent book is Rockin' Out: Popular Music in the USA.

In the Series

Sound Matters

No longer active. Using music as the entry point for cultural analysis, books in the series Sound Matters, edited by Michael Jarrett, seek to articulate the values, beliefs, and dreams of the societies that create it. This series invites project proposals whose interdisciplinary approaches to music and cultural analysis will result in innovative, provocative, and accessible results.