Degree Year

2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

History

Advisor(s)

Clayton Koppes

Keywords

RIAA, 2 Live Crew, PMRC, Tipper Gore, Jack Thompson, Censorship, Culture wars, Media history, Popular music, Youth culture, Sexplotation industry, Dead Kennedys, Jello Biafra, NEA, Night Stalker

Abstract

In the 1980s the use of vulgar lyrics in music became connected with social issues surrounding youth and the perceived breakdown of the American family. While the historiography of the debate over music content and regulation, from 1985-1992, is frequently displayed as a partisan issue I argue that loose alliances formed across the political and cultural spectrum in calls for tighter regulation. Despite being a national debate, successful application of pressure for tighter regulation only came about through local efforts which had far reaching consequences for the RIAA’s national retail structure. This paper explores the way censorship efforts took place during the American Culture Wars and the murkiness of defining censorship in the Record Industry Association of Americans decentralized economic structure.

Included in

History Commons

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