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

Location: Springfield, OH

Date of : December 15, 2018

Author: Brian Johnston and Susan Mackey-Kallis

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More than an academic study of the rock band U2 and its fan community, Myth, Fan Culture, and the Popular Appeal of Liminality in the Music of U2: A Love Story is a meditation on the complex character of love. U2: A Love Story explores the band’s popular appeal through the lenses of Agape (spiritual, communal love), Amor (romantic love), and Eros (erotic love). Drawing heavily upon the works of Joseph Campbell, especially the hero’s journey and “thou art that,” the authors explain how U2’s ongoing success is the result of a mythic journey propelled by a unique relationship between band and fan, a “holy” community that evolves over time as the journey unfolds and reboots in turns. As “Aca-fans” the authors weave their own stories into their analysis of the band’s music and performances, highlighting the personal experiences many of us have with mediated forms of popular culture. In addition to Joseph Campbell, the authors draw insights and inspiration from Robert Johnson, Carl Jung, Janice Hocker Rushing and others to illustrate how, through the power of love, U2 and its fans travel together on a quest for social justice in the world.

This resource was suggested by Brian Johnston

About Brian Johnston:

Brian Johnston is visiting assistant professor at Miami University is the Department of Media, Journalism and Film. He was introduced to the works of Joseph Campbell while studying communication and culture with Janice Rushing and Tom Frentz at the University of Arkansas. Susan Mackey-Kallis is associate professor at Villanova University, and her two previous books apply Joseph Campbell's works to the study of film and popular culture.

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