Understanding music in movements: The white power music scene

Robert Futrell, Pete Simi, Simon Gottschalk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Relying on the analysis of ethnographic and documentary data, this article explains how U.S. White Power Movement (WPM) activists use music to produce collective occasions and experiences that we conceptualize as the movement's music scene. We use the concept "music scene" to refer to the full range of movement occasions in which music is the organizing principle. Members experience these not as discrete events, but as interconnected sets of situations that form a relatively coherent movement music scene. We emphasize three analytically distinct dimensions of this scene - local, translocal, and virtual - and specify how each contributes to emotionally loaded experiences that nurture collective identity. Participants claim that strong feelings of dignity, pride, pleasure, love, kinship, and fellowship are supported through involvement in the WPM music scene. These emotions play a central role in vitalizing and sustaining member commitments to movement ideals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-304
Number of pages30
JournalSociological Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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