RADICALISM AND CAPITALISM: Radicalism & Music: An Introduction to the Music Cultures of Al-Qa'ida, Racist Skinheads, Christian-Affiliated Radicals, and Eco-Animal Rights Militants

By Wolters-Fredlund, Benita | Notes, March 1, 2017 | Go to article overview

RADICALISM AND CAPITALISM: Radicalism & Music: An Introduction to the Music Cultures of Al-Qa'ida, Racist Skinheads, Christian-Affiliated Radicals, and Eco-Animal Rights Militants


Wolters-Fredlund, Benita, Notes


RADICALISM AND CAPITALISM Radicalism & Music: An Introduction to the Music Cultures of al-Qa'ida, Racist Skinheads, Christian-Affiliated Radicals, and Eco-Animal Rights Militants. By Jonathan R. Pieslak. (Music/Culture.) Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2015. [viii, 338 p. ISBN 9780819575838 (hardcover), $85; ISBN 9780819575845 (paperback), $27.95; ISBN 9780819575852 (e-book), $21.99.] Illustrations, appendix, endnotes, bibliography, index.

Readers like me who enjoyed Jonathan Pieslak's first book Sound Targets: American Soldiers and Music in the Iraq War (Blooming - ton: Indiana University Press, 2009) will be pleased to see he has written another book probing the use of music in communities that we may not consider musical. For Radicalism & Music, Pieslak has chosen to examine four communities and their music, case studies of which make up the first four chapters of the book: (1) al-Qa'ida and jihad-themed anashid; (2) racist skinheads, especially the Hammerskin Nation, and white-supremacist-themed punk, Oi!, hardcore, metal, and "softer" styles; (3) a group Pieslak calls "Christian-Affiliated Radicals" that includes the Westboro Baptist Church and their pop song parodies as well as the children's music of Christian fundamentalist groups; and (4) environmental and animal-rights militants, folk-protest songs, and the more recent straight-edge hardcore styles. In the final chapter, "Understanding Music's Roles in Radical Culture," and in a closing section that follows, Pieslak reflects on the similarities among his case studies and considers music's ability to shape individuals and communities.

Part of the book's appeal is in the opportunity it affords to glance inside communities that we may find repulsive but also fascinating. Each case study opens with a narrated scene that describes a musical moment from the community under discussion: a young Muslim man radicalized by al- Qa'ida committing murder after listening to Islamist anashid; Hammerskins enjoying fellowship at a St. Paddy's Day concert and barbecue; members of the Westboro Baptist Church protesting a Veterans Day celebration with song parodies mocking the "filthy" morals of America; and a leftwing bookstore hosting a concert featuring protest songs with radical environmentalist themes. He follows each vignette with a historical account of the movement and the use of music within it, and then explores specific examples of genres, styles, bands, artists, labels and fans within the scene. Pieslak's accounts of these subcultures draw on an impressive quantity and variety of primary and secondary sources, including firsthand accounts of community events, interviews, and letters from people involved or formerly involved in them; some of the letters were written from prison, where their authors are doing time for extremist activities.

The central thesis of the book is convincing: music is typically a key, defining element in the life of radical communities that does a range of "helpful" cultural work within them, including drawing in new recruits, building community among members, expressing identity, disseminating beliefs, motivating members to action, and even, in the case of white-supremacist groups, raising money for their cause. An important insight the book offers is that new recruits are not typically drawn into radicalism because of extremist ideas, but because of the relationships they forge, either in person or online, with members. And music often facilitates those initial relationships, for example, as a subject of shared interest online, or through shared experience at a concert. Another chilling similarity among several radicals who engage in violent and criminal activity is the use of music before, during, or after to embolden them in their exploits.

The fact that music may play an important role in spurring on members of radical communities to act in disturbing ways for their cause is a central issue that I wish had been treated with more nuance. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

RADICALISM AND CAPITALISM: Radicalism & Music: An Introduction to the Music Cultures of Al-Qa'ida, Racist Skinheads, Christian-Affiliated Radicals, and Eco-Animal Rights Militants
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.