Tramps Like Us: Music & Meaning Among Springsteen Fans

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Based on three years of ethnographic research with Bruce Springsteen fans, and informed by the author's own experiences as a fan, Tramps Like Us is an interdisciplinary study of the ways in which ordinary people form special, sustained attachments to Springsteen and his music and how those attachments function in people's daily lives. An insider's narrative about Springsteen fans--who they are, what they do, and why they do it--this book also explores the phenomenon of fandom in general. The text oscillates between fans' stories and ideas and the author's own anecdotes, commentary, and analysis. Cavicchi challenges the stereotypes of fans as obsessive, delusional, and even mentally ill, and explores fandom as a normal cultural and social phenomenon. He argues that music fandom is a useful and meaningful behavior that enables people to shape identity, create community, and make sense of the world.
 

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Contents

Seeing Bruce in Concert
22
Defining Fandom
38
3 Ignoring the Music Business
60
Performance and the Politics of Participation
86
5 Listening and Learning
108
6 Musically Shaping the Self
134
Fandom Community and Connection
158
Toward an ExperienceNear Understanding of Popular Music
184
Postscript
190
Appendix A
195
Appendix B
199
Notes
201
References
205
Index
217
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About the author (1998)

Daniel Cavicchi teaches American history and culture at Rhode Island School of Design.

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