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Living in The Merry GhettoThe Music and Politics of the Czech Underground$
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Trever Hagen

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190263850

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190263850.001.0001

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Assembling the Merry Ghetto

Assembling the Merry Ghetto

(p.51) Chapter 3 Assembling the Merry Ghetto
Living in The Merry Ghetto

Trever Hagen

Oxford University Press

Chapter 3 focuses on the rich artistic output of the Czech Underground in the early 1970s. This aesthetic material helped frame the Underground through contrast structures and ideological articulations, helping it develop from an inchoate group that emerges from the 1960s bigbít scene into a distinct community. This occurred through a series of events congruent with the Underground band the Plastic People of the Universe’s musical development, all of which was calibrated by police repression and bureaucratic interruption of normalizace. In particular, notions of “establishment” emerged within Underground discourse, understood to be an “oppressor” of a self-determined way of life. The chapter shows how the fusing of cultural resources began to hold together an increasingly clearer network of dispositions, gestures and emotional stances that resulted from a series of social and aesthetic mediators. The chapter concludes by offering a model of how cultural resources are made available, located and put together. This engagement with resources ultimately creates a habitable, health-promoting space for communing and building immunity against things that one seeks to reject.

Keywords:   normalization, censorship, popular music, Czech ears, culture creation, togetherness

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