How has dance music highlighted the political and social issues that surrounded America in the late 20th Century?

Over the past few months, I have been working on my final year dissertation and after having recently handed it in, I have decided to share my research with the world. Deciding what topic to study was not too difficult considering my keen interest in electronic and dance music. Thus, I chose to gain an understanding about how the genres of dance music I love to play and make have been impacted throughout History.

In chapter one, there is a brief discussion on the influence that soul had on black artists and the black music scene, before I delve into the rise of disco in Chicago and finally ending the chapter with the “Disco Demolition”. Without giving too much away, this event in 1979 had a severe impact on minority ethnic music and the way in which it was perceived by mainstream culture in America.

Following on from this, chapter two is based on what the Chicago dance music scene did in response to the demolition. House was an underground culture based on emancipating oppressed peoples from segregation and racial discrimination that they may have faced when outside of the club. Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy were key figures in creating a safe environment for black and gay audiences to attend, and both their roles are analysed in this chapter.

The third and final chapter moves away from Chicago. Techno in Detroit was symbolic of racial divides within the city. High school parties and violence demonstrated a clear split between the wealthy, white middle-classes and the poor, often black, lower-classes. Economic turmoil in the city meant that the Detroit techno sound was heavily influenced by old industrial buildings and I go into more details about the influences for early techno producers. Electro-techno duo Drexciya are then mentioned, and with their music influenced by the slave trade, they highlight modern day racism through their fictional underwater realm.

I hope you enjoy reading the paper. It can be downloaded through the link below.

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