White Power Music and the Mobilization of Racist Social Movements

Ugo Corte, Bob Edwards

Abstract


At the end of the 1970s a racist rock music movement known as White Power music emerged in Great Britain in connection with political parties of the extreme right and remains a vibrant force in racist social movements today. Throughout the 1990s, White Power music expanded significantly from its origins in a clandestine network of punk-inspired live shows and record promotions into a multi-million dollar, international enterprise of web-pages, radio stations and independent record labels promoting White Power musicians performing a wider range of musical genres. In this article, we view White Power music as a cultural resource created and produced by racist movements and used as a tool to further key movement goals.  Specifically, we examine White Power music’s role when used to 1) recruit new adherents, especially youth, 2) frame issues and ideology to cultivate a White Power collective identity, and 3) obtain financial resources. In doing so we rely upon in-depth interviews with White Power musicians and promoters as well as representatives of watchdog and monitoring organizations. Interviews were conducted by the lead author from 2002-2004 or accessed through transcripts of similar interviews made available by another researcher.  This research also relies upon an extensive examination of White Power music, lyrics, newsletters and websites.
We conclude that White Power music continues to play a significant role in the mobilization of racist political and social movements by drawing in new youth, cultivating a racist collective identity, and generating substantial sums of money to finance a range of racist endeavours.

Keywords


White Power music; right-wing social movements; resource mobilization; youth recruitment; collective identity; issue framing; racism

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