Trapped Deep Beneath the Sewage: Representation of the University in Popular Music
Keywords:university, popular music
This article reviews the lyrics of popular music in order to uncover how the ‘university’ is represented in this art form. The lyrics that feature university are coded into themes and these are discussed. The lyrics are initially coded to negative/positive/neutral, but group of more refined themes is also presented. The analysis reveals that whilst the university is still seen as a place of learning, the lyrics of these songs tend to present and represent the university in a negative light. The intention of this article is to promote debate into the way that the university is perceived by popular music songwriters, but also to demonstrate the importance of assessing the place of the university from outside of the (at times) myopic lens of higher educational research.
Alvesson, M. (2014). The triumph of emptiness: consumption, higher education & work organisation. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Ashcroft, R. (2002). Science of silence. On Human Conditions [CD]. London, UK: Hut Records.
Smith, P., & Goodwin, M. J. (1994). Break-A-Bitch College. On On the Outside Looking In [CD]. Huston, Tx: Sauve.
Baez, J. (1979). For Sasha. On Honesty lullaby [CD]. New York, NY: Portrait.
Bennett, A. (2002). Researching youth culture and popular music: A methodological critique. British Journal of Sociology, 53, 451-466.
Besson, A., & Mount, J. (2014). I’m Aquarius. On Love Letters [CD]. London, UK: Because.
Bliss, S., Jazz, M., & Armstrong, R. (1996). Reverence. On Reverence [CD]. New York, NY: Arista.
Bowditch, C. (2005). Divorcee by 23. On What Was Left [CD]. London, UK: EMI.
Bragg, B. (1997). Qualifications. On Bloke on Bloke [CD]. London, UK: Cooking Vinyl.
Brancaleone, D., & O’Brien, S. (2011). Educational commodification and the (economic) sign value of learning outcomes. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 32(4), 501-519.
Brown, S., Aplin, K., Jenkins, K., Mander, S., Walsh, C., & Williams, P. (2015). Is there a rhythm of the rain? An analysis of weather in popular music. Weather, 70(7). 198-204.
Buck 65. (1996). Seventeen. On Language Arts [CD]. Halifax, Canada: Four Ways To Rock/Metaphorensics.
Bush, J. (n.d.). The O.C. Supertones Biography. Retrieved from All Music website: http://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-oc-supertones-mn0000885387/biography
Chatterton, P. (2000). The cultural role of universities in the community: revisiting the university—community debate. Environment and Planning, 32(1), 165-181.
Cohen, L., & Manion, L. (1994). Research methods in education. (4th ed.) London: Routledge.
Collini, S. (2015, January 21). Who are the spongers now? London review of books, 38(2), 33-37. Retrieved from http://www.lrb.co.uk/
Collins Dictionary (2003). Collins Dictionary Complete and unabridged. New York, NY-Harper Collins Publishers
Creswell, J. W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry and research method: Choosing among five approaches (2nd. ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Crotty, M. (1998). The foundations of social science research. St. Leonards, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin.
Currie, J. (2014). So many souls to change. On Waking Hours [CD] London, UK: Mercury Records.
Davies, R. (1983/2010). Young Conservatives. On State of confusion [CD]. Burton Hastings, UK: Commercial Marketing.
Dunbar-Hall, P., & Wemyss, K. (2000). The effects of the study of popular music on music education. International Journal of Music Education, 36, 23-34.
Dylan, B. (1991). Foot of Pride. On The Bootleg Series, Vol 1-3: Rare & Unreleased 1961-1991 [CD]. New York, NY: Columbia.
Elliott, D., & Brown, R. (2000). Kurupted flesh. On 5th dog let loose [CD]. track
Etzkowitz, H., Webster, A., Gebhardt, C., & Terra, B.R.C (2000). The future of the university and the university of the future: evolution of ivory tower to entrepreneurial paradigm. Research policy 29(2), 313-330.
Farber, B. (2007). Rock and roll wisdom. Westport, CT: Praeger.
Feldmann, J., Madden, B., & Madden, J. (2002). The Anthem. On The young and the hopeless [CD]. New York, NY: Epic.
Freidman, K., & Red, P. (1974). Homo Erectus. On Kinky Friedman [Vinyl]. New York, NY: ABC.
Gossman, P. (2014). Bob Dylan: ‘A scholar (and lyricist) of SoTL’. In ICED (Ed.), Educational Development in a Changing World: Proceedings of the International Consortium for Educational Development, Stockholm, Sweden: ICED.
Green, L. (2002). How popular musicians learn: A way ahead for music education, Farnham, UK: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.
Guidotti, R., & McColgan, M. (2003). Declaration. On Savin Hill [CD]. Boston, Ma: Crosscheck.
Huston., P. (aka Prince Paul). (1999). MC Hsutler. On A prince among thieves [CD]. New York, NY: Tommy Boy.
Ice Cube (1995). Higher. On Higher Learning [CD]. New York, NY: Sony.
Inglis, I. (2000). Men of ideas? Popular music, anti-intellectualism and the Beatles. In I Inglis (Ed.). The Beatles, popular music and society: A thousand voices. London, UK: Macmillain.
Jones, I., & Marley, D. (2010). Patience. On Distant Relatives [CD]. New York, NY: Island.
Jones, K. (2005). 72 Kilos. On Black Orpheus [CD]. London, UK: Delabel.
Kong, L. (1995). Popular music in geographical analyses. Progress in Human Geography, 19, 183-198.
Levitin, D. (2008). The World in six songs. London, UK: Aurum Press.
Light, A. (1992). Bob Dylan. In A.DeCurtis and J. Hneke (Eds.), The Rolling Stone illustrated history of rock and roll (3rd edition) (pp.299-308). New York, NY: Random House.
Little Man Tate. (2007). Sexy in Latin. On About what you know [CD]. London, UK: V2.
Livingston, N., Marley, D., & Marley, S. (2005). The master has come back. On Welcome to Jamrock [CD]. Jamaica, WI: Tuff Gong.
Longhurst, B. (2007). Popular music and society, Cambridge, UK: Polity.
McBride, S., & Flynn, T. (1981). Berkley heathen bitches. On Landshark [CD]. Berkley, Ca: Boner.
McColgan, M., & Rioux, J. (2003). Declaration. On Savin Hill [CD]. Los Angeles, Ca: Hellcat.
Marley, B. (2001). Babylon system. On Survival [CD]. Jamaica, WI: Tuff Gong.
Maslin, J. (1995, January 11). Higher learning; Short Course in Racism On a College Campus. The New York Times, Retrieved January 28, 2015, from http://www.nytimes.com/1995/01/11/movies/film-review-higher-learning-short-course-in-racism-on-a-college-campus.html
Merriam, S. B. (1995). What can you tell from an N of 1?: Issues of validity and reliability in qualitative research. PAACE Journal of lifelong learning, 4, 51-60.
Middleton, R. (1990). Studying popular music. Milton Keynes, UK: OUP.
Moore, A. (2012). Song Means: analysing and interpreting recorded popular Song. Farnham, UK: Ashgate.
Morrison, V. (1998). Madam Joy. On The philosopher’s stone [CD]. London, UK: Polydor.
O’Neill, D., & Bradley, M. (1980). My prefect cousin. On My prefect cousin [Vinyl]. New York, NY: Union Square
Orbison, R. (1962/1987). Working for the man. On In Dreams: The Greatest Hits. Indianapolis, IN: BMG Direct Marketing.
Partridge, A. (1989). The Mayor of Simpleton. On Oranges & Lemons [CD]. London, UK: Virgin Records.
Reynolds, M. (1962). Little boxes. On Malivina Reynolds Sings the Truth [CD] New York, NY: Columbia.
Smith, P. & Goodwin, M. J. (1994). Break-A-Bitch College. On On the Outside Looking In [CD]. Huston, Tx: Sauve.
Tenant, N., & Lowe, C. (2013). Love is A bourgeois construct. On Love is A bourgeois construct [CD London, UK: X2.
The Arrogant Worms. (1997). TV Weather Guy. On Live Bait [CD]. Toronto, Canada: Fontana North.
The O. C. Supertones & Terusa, T. (1999). Grounded. On Chase the Sun [CD]. London, UK: EMI.
Thomas, D. R. (2006). A general inductive approach for analyzing qualitative evaluation data. American Journal of Evaluation, 27, 237–246.
Veblen, T. (2015). The Higher Learning in America: The Annotated Edition: A Memorandum on the Conduct of Universities by Business Men. Baltimore, USA: JHU Press.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).
Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice has made best effort to ensure accuracy of the contents of this journal, however makes no claims to the authenticity and completeness of the articles published. Authors are responsible for ensuring copyright clearance for any images, tables etc which are supplied from an outside source.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.