Black gold : the cultures & practices of record collecting

Poole, Simon (2014) Black gold : the cultures & practices of record collecting. Doctoral thesis, Buckinghamshire New University.

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This thesis considers the positioning and re­‐positioning of vinyl records and those that collect them. It does so in the context of vinyl’s decline as the primary carrier of music. It is constructed within a theoretical framework of material culture and broader cultural studies. It draws on qualitative data collected through a standard survey from 344 record collectors in 21 countries. The data is discussed and presented in theoretically conceptualised chapters. I consider vinyl as a physical artefact, as ‘thing’ and contrary to historical and contemporary engagement with music as ephemeral, as experience. I discuss vinyl in terms of eras; of both disc manufacture and what I have termed three eras of collecting. I argue that the economic and cultural trajectories of vinyl lead to differing states of desirability along these journeys. Vinyl is then positioned as a collectable object, contrary to established collecting theory, drawing on the varying states of desirability. Notions of the past are considered in relation to vinyl’s historical position as primary carrier during the ‘golden era’ of popular music. The differing patterns of nostalgia are discussed in relation to how they enable record collectors access to the pasts of popular musics and defines markers of collecting that allow identiIication of differing nostalgias. I argue that the sensory nature of the vinyl experience, how these objects are positioned as markers of collectors’ taste, contribute to attitudes regarding condition through the idea of patina. This taste and accompanying practices are further discussed as contribution to the social aspects of collecting, to status, shared cultures and knowledges. The practices of collectors are varied and complex but with common focal points and issues. Collectors value the physical engagement with vinyl, the large artwork and the attentive, prolonged ‘slow’ engagement with the format. Nostalgic practices of record collectors vary dependent on their length of engagement with the culture as well as their age. Collectors’ experience of vinyl as either the primary or as a marginal deliverer of music also contributes to differences in practice. These markers impact on their attitudes to condition of second hand records and the trace of previous ownership. This work crosses between, and contributes to, discourses of material culture, cultural theory, and poses challenges to established ideas of collecting.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions: ?? BucksNewUniversity ??
Depositing User: ULCC Admin
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2015 14:22
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2017 19:17

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