Now on Early View: Review of Kotarba’s Baby Boomer Rock ‘n’ Roll Fans #sssi #music #sociology #bookreview

Gretchen Larsen’s (University of Durham, UK) review of Joe Kotarba’s “Baby Boomer Rock ‘n’ Roll Fans: The Music Never Ends” has just been published on Early View. Larsen’s focuses her review on the question that is central to Kotarba’s book “why have so many adults not outgrown rock ‘n’ roll?”.


The answer Kotarba gives – according to Larsen  relates to the ways in which ageing Americans use Rock ‘n’ Roll music to make sense of themselves and their lives.

Posted in boomers, Interactionism, Music, SSSI | Leave a comment

Joe Kotarba – SXSW #sssi #music

Activities at SXSW are now being live streamed.  Go to South By Southwest <> for instructions.  I am going to two private showcases this week—always the highlight of spring break!

Joe Kotarba

Posted in Announcement | Leave a comment

New on Early View: Bryce Merrill’s review of Aldrege’s “Singer-Songwriters and Musical Open-Mics” #sssi #music

Open-Mic nights have become again popular evening activity in many cities all over the world. Marcus Aldredge has written “a vivid and empathetic depiction of the social life of open mics”, argues Bruce Merrill in his review “Recommended if You Like: Scenes, Maker Culture, and Music Sociology” just published on Early View.


Merrill particularly praises that Aldredge manages to link his analysis to developments in contemporary culture, such as the “maker culture”. He recommends the book not only to interactionists but in particular also for “teaching cultural sociology, urban studies, and even urban planning or arts administration”.

Posted in book review, Interactionism, music sssi | Leave a comment

Sociology of Pop Music Course (Joe Kotarba) #sssi #music

I am teaching my online sociology of pop music course this semester, as I do every spring and summer. Our assignment this week has my students (all 76 of them) analyzing the Grammys through the three major sociological paradigms (consensus, conflict, and interactionism).  This assignment works very well, as it helps get the point across that we all have our own world views–paradigms are simply formal versions of them.  Please post any comments on any of this as well as your paradigmatic analysis, if interested.

Joe Kotarba

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Interview with Howard Becker #sssi

Interactionists interested in music might be interested in the interview with Howard Becker that has recently been published in Symbolic Interaction.

Becker interview

In the interview Becker talks about the development of his sociology and in particular about his sociology of art.

You also might be interested in Howard Becker’s most recent book “What about Mozart?, What about Murder?


If you are interested in reviewing the book for Symbolic Interaction, please get in touch with me:

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Joe Kotarba on ‘Enter Sandman’ #sssi #music

I just played Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” performed on Craig Ferguson’s. Late Late Show Thursday.  I missed the original broadcast–way past my bedtime.  But, the video I caught on was marvelous.

The song still gives me chills.  I have always thought of ES as a critical point in the history of metal:  meaningful and scary, not just loud and forceful. For better or worse, it was all over MTV.  It makes me feel like a 12 years old boy feel must feel: on the edge of adolescence with all its threatening yet exciting realities.  Was ES in 1992 the height or the beginning of the end of metal as we have come to know and love it.  Come on, SI bangers, talk to me…

Joe Kotarba        

Posted in Blog, Music | 1 Comment

Comparative Study: Aging Rock ‘n’ Roll Fans in Sweden and the U.S. #sssi

Dr. Vessela Misheva, Professor of Sociology at Uppsala University in Sweden, and I are conducting a comparative international study of aging rock ‘n’ roll fans. This study is an extension of my original work on baby boomer rock ‘n’ roll fans, with one important additional consideration. During the European interactionist meetings in Uppsala in 2013, a Swedish scholar commented to me that my analysis does not apply to Swedish society because they do not have baby boomers the way that term is used in the States! The explanation, of course, is that Sweden did not witness a comparable demographic spike following World War II because they remained neutral during the war. Vessela and I are investigating all this through a series of interviews we are conducting with our graduate social psychology students. I am teaching a masters level seminar in social psychology—focusing on the sociologies of everyday life—and Vessela is teaching masters and doctoral level seminars. I have lectured several times to her students via Skype, and our classes have met once via Skype. We are now in the process of analyzing the data from semi-structured interviews with respondents over the age of 67. We will report back to the Blog soon, as we prepare to present our study at the European interactionist meetings in Salford in July. We hope to receive comments from Blog readers on our preliminary findings.

Joe Kotarba

Posted in boomers, Interactionism, Music, Research | Leave a comment