Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Popular Music and Culture


Dr. Keir Keightley


There is a dark mythology surrounding the post-punk band Joy Division that tends to foreground the personal history of lead singer Ian Curtis. However, when evaluating the construction of Joy Division’s public image, the contributions of several other important figures must be addressed. This thesis shifts focus onto the peripheral figures who played key roles in the construction and perpetuation of Joy Division’s image. The roles of graphic designer Peter Saville, of television presenter and Factory Records founder Tony Wilson, and of photographers Kevin Cummins and Anton Corbijn will stand as examples in this discussion of cultural intermediaries and collaborators in popular music. These individuals helped to shape the image of Joy Division as a serious, melancholic and “authentic” rock band. Examining their unique contributions will illustrate the complex notion of authorship in popular music and the role cultural intermediaries play in the construction of musical meaning and value.

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