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Cultural memory and the heritagisation of a music consumption community

Daragh O’Reilly (Management School, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)
Kathy Doherty (Communication and Computing Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK)
Elizabeth Carnegie (Management School, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)
Gretchen Larsen (Business School, Durham University, Stockton-on-Tees, UK)

Arts and the Market

ISSN: 2056-4945

Article publication date: 2 October 2017




The purpose of this paper is to explore how music consumption communities remember their past. Specifically, the paper reports on the role of heritage in constructing the cultural memory of a consumption community and on the implications for its identity and membership.


Drawing upon insights from theories of cultural memory, heritage, and collective consumption, this interpretive inquiry makes use of interview, documentary, and artefactual analysis, as well as visual and observational data, to analyse an exhibition of the community’s popular music heritage entitled One Family – One Tribe: The Art & Artefacts of New Model Army.


The analysis shows how the community creates a sense of its own past and reflects this in memories, imagination, and the creative work of the band.

Research limitations/implications

This is a single case study, but one whose exploratory character provides fruitful insights into the relationship between cultural memory, imagination, heritage, and consumption communities.

Practical implications

The paper shows how consumption communities can do the work of social remembering and re-imagining of their own past, thus strengthening their identity through time.

Social implications

The study shows clearly how a consumption community can engage, through memory and imagination, with its own past, and indeed the past in general, and can draw upon material and other resources to heritagise its own particular sense of community and help to strengthen its identity and membership.


The paper offers a theoretical framework for the process by which music consumption communities construct their own past, and shows how theories of cultural memory and heritage can help to understand this important process. It also illustrates the importance of imagination, as well as memory, in this process.



The authors gratefully acknowledge the help of Joolz Denby and New Model Army fans with this inquiry.


O’Reilly, D., Doherty, K., Carnegie, E. and Larsen, G. (2017), "Cultural memory and the heritagisation of a music consumption community", Arts and the Market, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 174-190.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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