Jubilee mugs: the monarchy and the Sex Pistols

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With rare exceptions sociologists have traditionally had little to say about the British monarchy. In the exceptional cases of the Durkheimian functionalism of Shills and Young (1953), the left humanism of Birnbaum (1955), or the archaic state/backward nation thesis of Nairn (1988), the British nation has been conceived as a homogenous mass. The brief episode of the Sex Pistols' Jubilee year song 'God Save the Queen' exposed some of the divisions within the national 'mass', forcing a re-ordering of the balance between detachment and belonging to the Royal idea. I argue that the song acted as a kind of 'breaching experiment'. Its wilful provocation of Royalist sentiment revealed the level of sanction available to the media-industrial complex to enforce compliance to British self-images of loyal and devoted national communicants.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSociological Research Online
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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