This article aims to illuminate the links between culture and class in the post-socialist years in the Czech Republic. To this end, it considers the reception of two music acts—the country folk duo Bratři Nedvědi in the 1990s and the “nationalist rock” band Ortel in the 2010s—and discusses the labeling of their fans based on their social class profiles. My analysis draws on mainstream Czech media coverage of these acts, materials reflecting fans’ perspectives, and broader scholarly debates about the links between music consumption and social class. One similarity between these bands lay in their decision to forsake their original subcultural fans for a more mainstream audience. A second commonality relates to the dismissal of their mainstream fans by cultural elites, who saw them as backward and out of step with the norms of liberal democracy and Western capitalism. These critics often described these types of Czech music as lowbrow and regressive. Meanwhile, the two bands continued to insist that they were making songs for “ordinary people” rather than elites: their fan bases, while not homogenous, remained largely working class. This study considers key intersections between class, age, ethnicity, and gender in Czech post-socialist society. I argue that certain kinds of local musical taste reflect class differences, which are further shaped by age, gender, and political orientation.
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Research Article| June 01 2022
Songs for Ordinary People: Popular Music and Class in Post-Socialist Czech Society
Communist and Post-Communist Studies (2022) 55 (2): 84–103.
Ondřej Daniel; Songs for Ordinary People: Popular Music and Class in Post-Socialist Czech Society. Communist and Post-Communist Studies 1 June 2022; 55 (2): 84–103. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/j.postcomstud.2022.55.2.84
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