• Michael Urban
Part of the Pop Music, Culture and Identity book series (PMCI)


This book has focused on the specifics of a musical community cohering around the production, mediation and enjoyment of New Orleans-style rhythm and blues. Those specifics refer to both the norms and practices associated with the myth of the city and its music—that is, to how community members (re) interpret and enact the myth—and to the forms of capital that they acquire, accumulate, and exchange in the course of so doing. The notion of myth on which I have been relying—the capacity of a narrative to raise certain aspects of experience above the mundane and to invest them with an enhanced significance—is relatively straightforward and, perhaps, requires no further elaboration. The same is not true of the forms of capital, whose elements may not only elude commonsensical thinking but which appear in contemporary studies of culture, society, politics and so forth in manifestly dissimilar ways, owing to the fact that various authors might be using identical terms to talk about very different things.1 This confusion requires some clarification. That is my first objective in this chapter, to make explicit the meaning of the terms that I shall be using to discuss what could be called the anatomy and metabolism of the New Orleans rhythm and blues community—things that don’t necessarily meet the eye unless one knows where to look for them. Thereafter, the discussion turns to the question of how this complex of myth and capitals informs the remarks of those in my interview sample, revealing the cultural groundwork on which this musical community is based.


Social Capital Community Member Cultural Capital Economic Capital Crescent City 
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Copyright information

© Michael Urban 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Urban
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaSanta CruzUSA

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