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Myth, Fan Culture, and the Popular Appeal of Liminality in the Music of U2: A Love Story

Myth, Fan Culture, and the Popular Appeal of Liminality in the Music of U2: A Love Story

by Brian Johnston, Susan Mackey-Kallis


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U2’s ongoing popular appeal is constructed in the spaces between band and fan, commercialism and community, spirituality and nihilism; finding meaning in a surface-oriented popular culture and contradiction in the depths of political and faith-based institutions. The band’s long-term success and continued relevance is a result of their ability to hold these energies in tension without one subsuming the other—to live in the liminal space that such contradictions invite. U2’s mythic trajectory was born from a bygone electronic era, realized in our current digital era but with an eye on the forthcoming virtual era; it is a new myth for the whole world, found in the most unlikely of places, popular culture. This book approaches the band’s mythic trajectory through a combination of rhetorical analysis and autoethnographic explorations that unveil the more personal experiences most of us have with media. Drawing heavily upon the works of Marshal McLuhan, Joseph Campbell, Thomas S. Frentz, and Janice Hocker Rushing, Myth, Fan Culture, and the Popular Appeal of Liminality in the Music of U2 unpacks U2’s popular appeal through the lenses of Agape (spiritual, communal love), Amor (romantic love), and Eros (erotic love). Check out the book's official website for additional information: https//

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781498553056
Publisher: Lexington Books
Publication date: 11/08/2018
Series: Communication Perspectives in Popular Culture
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 6.24(w) x 9.36(h) x 0.76(d)

About the Author

Brian Johnston is visiting assistant professor in the Department of Media, Journalism and Film at Miami University. Susan Mackey-Kallis is associate professor in the Department of Communication at Villanova University.

Table of Contents

Chapter One: Introduction Chapter Two: Love and Liminality Part One: Agape Chapter Three: Archetypal Foundations of the “Holy” Community Chapter Four: Call to Action Part Two: Amor Chapter Five: Into the Labyrinth Chapter Six: Mythic Trajectory and the Overdeveloped Shadow Part Three: Eros Chapter Seven: Into the “Heart” Chapter Eight: Integration and the Return: “Songs of Innocence + Experience” Tour Chapter Nine: Love, Liminality, and the Transmodern Rock Star Bibliography About the Authors

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