Madchester and the Representations of the North-South Divide in the 1980s and 1990s

Gregory, Georgina orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7532-7484 (2014) Madchester and the Representations of the North-South Divide in the 1980s and 1990s. Manchester Region History Review, 25 . pp. 93-106. ISSN 0952-4320

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The Madchester music scene of the late 1980s and early 1990s flourished for a short time as a relatively underground subculture. When the music was discovered by the mainstream media, the response drew on long-standing stereotypes of northern identity, thereby reinforcing the hegemony of the south in matters cultural. The origins and manifestations of the divide are explored first before looking more closely at the particular social and political conditions underpinning the emergence of a separate music scene in Manchester. The individual characteristics of Madchester fashion and music are examined to relate elements of style to the traditional stereotypes and discourses surrounding “northernness”. Examples of contemporary media coverage of the Madchester scene are discussed to show the media mobilised well-worn cultural tropes to portray the artists and the city in a negative light. I also show how, in an era of extreme social division, members of the local creative community sometimes hyperbolized their northern identities as a means of resistance to southern cultural imperialism

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