Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Popular Music and Culture


Keir Keightley


This thesis examines discourses on dubstep, a currently popular form of electronic dance music (EDM). The thesis identifies discursive patterns in the received historical narrative of EDM and explores how those patterns may or may not manifest themselves in the current discourses on dubstep. The analysis explores how the value of electronic dance music has historically been judged according to frameworks of authenticity rooted in jazz and folk traditions that were later adopted and adapted by rock. Consumers and critics of EDM in general, and dubstep in particular, are found to deploy key elements of rock’s framework of authenticity in the making of judgments about dubstep’s value. Furthermore, the gender politics of these judgments tend to reproduce a masculinist disposition seemingly at odds with the ideals of EDM culture. Thus, this thesis investigates the problematic relationship between traditional notions of authenticity and the shifting values of the EDM community.