“Walk Like the Heroes”: The Performed Identity of Bruce Springsteen and the Relationship to Contemporary Popular Music Performance
thesisposted on 2021-06-08, 12:18 authored by Ashley Petkovski
This thesis examines the trend of contemporary popular musicians referencing and being compared to Bruce Springsteen. To do so, the work analyzes the performed social identity of Springsteen and its relationship to popular music performance, particularly in terms of understanding and assessing the motivations behind comparisons with Brian Fallon of The Gaslight Anthem, a band frequently though to represent Sprinsteen's influence. Two case studies were conducted to examine the performed personas of both artists, informed by theories of the communication of meaning and identity. Springsteen is found to portray a traditionally American, White, working class male, representative of the idealized image of early American republican philosophy. Alternately, Fallon is found to perform a similar social identity without the significant evocation of this republicanism. Comparisons between these artists are theorized as emerging from their use of similar identity representations and indicators of meaning, particularly in their communication of authenticity.