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Regal and Kalyptic distinctions
Author:  Date: 1999-07-10 00:00

Thank you for your interest in my theory.

First, I want to emphasize that our society is not one-dimensional. The cultural r/k dimension cannot explain everything about a person or a thing. In fact, our culture is so complex and diversified that you can find examples of anything and exceptions to any rule. Try to read some (post-)modern sociology books, and you will notice how diffuse the theories are.

Nick Rose thinks that my cultural r/k theory is not as robust as the biological r/K theory because it can't explain Margaret Thatcher's eccentricities. My comments to this:

  1. What makes you think that Mrs Thatcher is one of the most regal women on Earth? Conservatism is not the same as regality.
  2. You are giving a brief citation: 'there was no such thing as society' out of context. I don't know what she means by that, but don't tell me that she is an anarchist.
  3. She probably doesn't mean the same by individualism as I do. Individualism to her may be economic liberalism or laissez faire policy. What I meant by individualism (in a very different context), was that individual differences in taste and life-style are valued rather than repressed. Maybe I haven't expressed myself clear enough.
  4. The biological r/K theory is not as robust as you think (which I also explain), and no sociological theory is 'robust' if your criterion for robustness is that it has no exception.

And then to the claim by Charlie Gillett that the high volume of rock music exerts the effect of subjugation or totalitarian control:

  1. Theories about art are extremely difficult to discuss because everybody's opinion is colored by their personal taste and art perception.
  2. At page 208f (sorry, not available online) I give some examples of aesthetic debates which, I claim, at the unconscious level are negotiations about the desired social structure. This may also apply to Gillett although his dislike for rock music is not expressed in terms of aesthetics.
  3. Turning up the volume of music is simply to amplify the message, whatever that message may be. An opera playing at high volume is certainly not the same as a loud rock concert.
  4. I have never seen any humans marking their territory by playing music (I don't live in London). While your interpretation of the gang members' motives for playing rock music may be right, this is certainly not the primary function of rock music. I fact, there may be many other reasons for playing loud music:
    - seeking attention and show off: Watch my cool car!
    - seeking contact: Come everybody, and party with me!
    - creating an extatic mood for dancing, etc. 
  5. Nick Rose characterizes the movement of rebellion, connected with rock music, as inter-group conflict. No: rebellion against authorities is intra-group conflict according to my model. i.e. a sign of a kalyptization process in progress.
  6. I don't see rock music as a vehicle for conflict between rivalizing subcultures. In fact, rock music is happily mixed with all kinds of other genres.
  7. Rock music is a very broad category. For example, heavy metal is more regal than techno.
  8. Baboons are predominantly K-selected in the biological model.

I must admit, though, that there are things around rock music that keep puzzling me. Why do some motorcycle gangs and neo-nazi groups listen to rock music? I can think of the following explanations:

  1. They are part of the broad youth culture and have not developed their own artistic identity and their own composers.
  2. Their regal beliefs may be the most conspicuous trait in the eyes of outsiders, but other aspects may be more important to the members of that subculture.
  3. Other messages in the rock music may be more important to them than the r/k message, for example messages about youth, strength, masculinity, or freedom.
  4. While rebellion is most often a process of kalyptic subordinates rebelling against a regal authority, it may also be the opposite: regal subgroups rebelling against a kalyptic society. Maybe the same message works either way.

It is more easy to explain why some religious groups use rock music when proselytizing: They are simply using it as bait to attract young people.

thread Regal and Kalyptic distinctions new - Nick Rose - 1999-07-07
replythread Regal and Kalyptic distinctions new - Derek Gatherer - 1999-07-08
last replythread Regal and Kalyptic distinctions new - Nick Rose - 1999-07-08
replythread Regal and Kalyptic distinctions - Agner Fog - 1999-07-10
last reply Regal and Kalyptic distinctions new - Nick Rose - 1999-07-13
last reply Regal and Kalyptic distinctions new - Aaron Agassi - 1999-07-11
last replythread Regal and Kalyptic distinctions new - Aaron Agassi - 1999-07-11
replythread Regal and Kalyptic distinctions new - Agner Fog - 1999-07-12
last reply Moi? new - Aaron Agassi - 1999-07-12
last replythread Regal and Kalyptic distinctions new - Svehla - 2000-06-04
last reply Music and uniformity new - Agner Fog - 2001-04-29