Why is rock culturally relevant



04.12.2020 12:48

Cultural “guard rails” for individual life are existential

Stephan Düppe Staff Unit 2 - Communication and Public Relations
FernUniversität in Hagen

Frank Hillebrandt, professor of sociology at FernUniversität, researches the diverse effects of rock and pop. According to him, people need the cultural as an aid to orientation in order to find the form in which they want to live personally. Culture is therefore one of the most important prerequisites for being able to shape one's own life according to one's personal ideas. It is therefore not only relevant to the system, but also existential for our society. In view of the pandemic, Hillebrandt is calling for a structure for cultural events that is to some extent in the hands of the state.

What significance does culture have for society? Is it really "systemically relevant"? Both are fundamental questions, but they are intensified in connection with the corona pandemic. The sociology professor Dr. Frank Hillebrandt from the FernUniversität in Hagen says emphatically: “We live in a society in which the way of life is not predetermined, for example through birth. In order to find the form in which we want to live personally, we need the cultural as a guide. Culture is therefore one of the most important prerequisites for us to be able to shape our lives according to our own ideas. It is not only systemically relevant, it is existential for our society! "

The head of the Hagen Department of Sociology 1 - General Sociology and Sociological Theory exemplifies this with concerts and festivals: “They are extremely important because we find exactly the people with whom we can realize our cultural ideas. If that is not possible, an enormous amount will be lost and ultimately our society could be led to the brink. "

The situation is not that far for the scientist at the moment. And so that this case does not get any closer, Hillebrandt calls for a structure for cultural events "that is to some extent in state hands". If nothing happens, the art scene in Germany will certainly open up spaces that have been lost due to the corona pandemic, because it is creative enough to do so. But it will take a long time: “It is irresponsible to organize large cultural events, huge festivals now, we all know that. But that doesn't mean that we don't have to think about how we can better cope with such crisis situations now and in the future and how we can proceed in a completely different way from what has happened up to now. "

Have the feeling that “I'm in the right place here”

Hillebrandt sees no real substitute for canceled concerts and festivals through virtual formats. The physical presence, the coming together, the experience of listening to music cannot be replaced by the Internet or other digital forms for him: "Physical coming together can create the physical feeling that 'I am right here', that the ' my event 'is. It's an incomparable feeling! ”What if you don't? "Then you just go home."

In retrospect, for example, many, often profound changes as a result of the music and festival culture of the 1960s and 1970s can be seen as well as the needs they met. This is shown, for example, by the "Love and Peace Festival" in Fehmarn in 1970.

Hillebrandt and his colleague Amela Radetinac dealt intensively with the follow-up event to Woodstock. Back then, the hippies wanted to "do it differently" than usual. This has established itself in today's economy, the work structures, for example, are often completely different than 50 years ago. In society and politics, Hillebrandt sees a direct path from the “flower children” via the spontaneous movement to the Greens. At the music events, however, according to the findings of the two FernUni researchers, it was not the music that was the decisive reason for the popularity of a festival, but that there were many people around who were 'just like me'. You also hear that from Woodstock contemporary witnesses. ”In contrast, music is less important in memory.

Existential basis for open coexistence

From a sociological point of view, culture is highly relevant for the (social) system, an existential basis for pluralistic, open coexistence.

That is why Hillebrandt also has major problems with the discussion about systemic relevance: “Anyone who says that culture does not have this relevance has absolutely no idea what society we live in. Culture and all expressive forms that we include are simply absolutely necessary for our society. ”His great concern is that - if the situation does not improve - many organizers go bankrupt:“ And they won't come back, have to worry about it we should be clear. "

A long-term lockdown situation would also deprive up-and-coming artists the chance to become known, to develop further, to become successful and to have an impact.

"Established" punks

Hillebrandt names the “Einstürzende Neubauten” as an example for those who have succeeded. The experimental punk band of the 1980s later turned to theater and radio plays, among other things. In 2017, Blixa Bargeld & Co were among the first to give a concert in the new Hamburg Elbphilharmonie. "They used to be 'my punks'", Hillebrandt recalls, "and then they play in the prestige object of our cultural landscape - really established."

Where should young cultural talents try their hand at?

Hillebrandt also dealt intensively with the emergence of the Neue Deutsche Welle in Hagen and its social significance: “At the end of the 1970s, a lot of 'underground culture' was formed. That still exists today, and it still depends on coming together. ”Because the next generation of artists cannot use all the new, expensive media and cannot simply appear on television:“ That is often overlooked. ”

In Hagen, the prerequisites for the creation of the Neue Deutsche Welle were simply good: “There were and are real and artistically free spaces that conquered and conquer such scenes. Then they may become popular at some point. And only then do we see them. "

Hillebrandt is certain that there are such cultural scenes everywhere in Germany and around the world, but they are now suffering extremely from the fact that they can no longer meet: “The many young people who want to test their culture today can do that not now."

The importance of culture is undervalued

For the sociologist, the fact that there is even a discussion about the systemic relevance of culture is a consequence of today's overestimation of the economic. Every evening, at prime time, the stock exchange is switched to the stock exchange for five minutes, he criticizes: “Everything that happens in the world is associated with stock prices: What did the stock exchange say about it? Everything has to be evaluated and 'classified' without questioning the meaning. "

In contrast, social issues are discussed far too little: “Culture no longer occurs.” And that has a very negative effect on culture when it comes to its systemic relevance: “The question of 'systemic relevance' clearly has its origin in an economic logic. However, there are first signs that the 'neoliberal phase' is slowly coming to an end and that there are also discourses on topics other than economic ones. We have to work on getting culture back on the defensive! "

Hillebrandt researches the diverse effects of rock and pop writing. He works on empirical examples for a theory book about events.


Scientific contact:

Prof. Frank Hillebrandt, email: [email protected]


Additional Information:

https: //www.fernuni-hagen.de/universitaet/aktuelles/2020/08/am-28-viele-die-so-s ... "Many who are like me" attracted tens of thousands to the " European Woodstock ”on Fehmarn


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History / archeology, society, cultural studies, music / theater, politics
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