The rise of an autonomous youth culture is one of the most remarkable events of the fifties not in the least because of the noisy advent of its music: rock-'n-roll. This music shocked society and has been associated with rebellion and protest ever since. Rock-'n-roll acquired a meaning that went beyond music itself and the intentions of its producers because of its social construction. This article analyses the construction of rock-'n-roll, particularly the way it was shaped in the social and musical context of postwar America characterized by rapid social changes. It shows that a musical style like rock-'n-roll is not the sole creation of gifted artists or shrewd entrepreneurs but far more the unintended outcome of intricate processes in which many different actors are involved and in which cultural boundary crossings play an important role.

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Sociologische gids
Department of Sociology

d' Anjou, L. (2001). Rock-'n-roll: de sociale constructie van een muziekstijl. Sociologische gids, 48(2), 122–137. Retrieved from