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Adams, Rebecca G., and Robert Sardiello (eds.). Deadhead Social Science: You Ain't Gonna Learn What You Don't Want to Know.

Adams, Rebecca G., and Robert Sardiello (eds.). Deadhead Social Science: You Ain't Gonna Learn What You Don't Want to Know. Walnut Creek, CA/Lanham, MD/New York/ Oxford: AltaMira Press/Rowman & Littlefield, 2000. Pp. 299. ISBN 0-7425-0250-3 (hb.) $62.00; 0-7425-0251-1 (pb.) $24.95.

This book is not a critical study of social science but a collection of serious interdisciplinary, and typically participant-observation studies of fans of the rock band, "The Grateful Dead." The fans have, in the authors' opinion, become a widespread community and are sympathetically known as "Deadheads." Initially, the papers were written when the authors were graduate students, young enough to enter into the spirit of the rock music subculture.

Adams defends the scholarly significance of this study of a popular music phenomenon:
 In the beginning of each chapter, the author
 describes the interconnections between his
 or her histories as a Deadhead and as a
 scholar. These narratives chronicle the
 personal and professional development that
 these former students experienced as they
 wrote the papers ... Along with the chapters
 themselves, these stories demonstrate the
 importance of faculty encouraging students
 to pursue research topics of personal
 interest to them. (p. 15)

The Deadhead subculture included drug use and was generally condemned by the "dominant culture" as deviant. Jeremy Ritzer, writing from an anthropological perspective, notes how this and similar popular, but "subversive" manifestations are coopted by the dominant culture:
 In terms of the Deadhead culture, the
 widespread distribution of symbols or
 products normally associated with the
 culture can be seen as an effort by a
 frightened dominant society to undermine
 the threat posed by these symbols and
 products, or as a savvy financial decision to
 exploit a popular phenomenon. (p. 260)

Author and subject indexes are included, as are brief biographies of the 12 authors, 2 photographers, and the cover artist.
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Publication:Communication Research Trends
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 22, 2000
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