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Listening for the Secret – The Grateful Dead and the Politics of Improvisation - California Scholarship Online
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Listening for the Secret: The Grateful Dead and the Politics of Improvisation

Ulf Olsson


During their thirty years of existence, the Grateful Dead produced a musical as well as a cultural heritage that invites and rewards exploration and evaluation. This book engages critical theory in order to understand the band’s status and achievement, and what the cultural and political significance of the music as well as the wider phenomenon was, and is. The band and its music are studied in the tension between culture industry and self-organization. The first chapter looks at the dialectic of avant-garde and tradition in the mass cultural phenomenon that the Grateful Dead became. The secon ... More

Keywords: The Grateful Dead, culture industry, self-organization, tradition, avant-garde, politics, improvisation, charisma

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9780520286641
Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2018 DOI:10.1525/california/9780520286641.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Ulf Olsson, author
Stockholm University