The Politics of Authenticating: Revisiting New Orleans Jazz sets forth an entirely new approach to the study of authenticity, based not upon a search for finding the ‘true’ meaning of the concept or ‘unmasking’ its claims. Rather, it details a grounded theory of ‘authenticating’ as a basic socio-political process, important in understanding the origins, development and consequences of competing knowledge claims in diverse areas of human experience and activity over time and place. The book is part jazz historiography, part autoethnography, and part memoir. It details Richard Ekins revisiting of the quest for authenticity in the social worlds of international New Orleans revivalist jazz from the early 1960s onwards, from his standpoint as a social constructionist social scientist and cultural theorist. The book grew out of a series of long, detailed conversations between Ekins and his interlocutor (Robert Porter) and captures the energy and dynamism of these exchanges in the writing of the text, providing what the authors call a ‘riff methodology’ that might be drawn on by other scholars concerned to write books that revisit aspects of their personal and professional lives.
Richard Ekins is Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Cultural Studies, Ulster University, UK.
Robert Porter is Research Director in Communication, Media and Cultural Studies at Ulster University, UK.
Part I: Beginnings
Chapter 1. Introducing the Authors and the Riff Methodology
Riff I. Robert Porter
Chapter 2. Cultural Studies and the Politics of Everyday Life
Chapter 3. Why Sociology of Knowledge?
Chapter 4. Why George Herbert Mead?
Chapter 5. Why Symbolic Interactionism?
Riff II. Robert Porter
Chapter 6. Authenticity as Authenticating
Chapter 7. The Move to Grounded Theory
Part II Authenticating New Orleans Jazz
Riff III. Robert Porter
Chapter 8. Analytic Autoethnography
Chapter 9. Becoming Authentic (1961-1976)
Chapter 10. Revisiting Authenticity (2000-2009)
Chapter 11. Enthusiasts, Competing Authenticities, and the Move to Academe
Chapter 12. New Orleans Music, Authenticity, and the Case of Bob Wallis
Chapter 13. Towards Authenticity as Authenticating: Mainstreaming Authenticity and the Case of Bunk Johnson
Chapter 14. Authenticity as Authenticating 1 – Constructing and Reconstructing Authenticity
Chapter 15. Authenticity as Authenticating 2 – Adopting and Adapting Authenticity
Chapter 16. Progressing Authenticity
Coda on a Riff Fragment from Robert Porter
“A highly original take on the history and culture of traditional New Orleans Jazz seen through the lens of modern sociological analysis and focusing on the concept of “authenticity.” For me, as a non-sociologist, the most compelling chapters are those dealing with Ekins’s personal odyssey as a jazz lover and musician, as well as the case histories of other young middle-class men drawn to the siren song that emerged from New Orleans in the early 20th century and later experienced a vibrant revival around the legendary figure of trumpeter Willie “Bunk” Johnson. Readers familiar with jazz history will find this a refreshing, sometimes surprising, approach.”
"In The Politics of Authenticating: Revisiting New Orleans Jazz, Richard Ekins and Robert Porter have produced a groundbreaking grounded theory 'montage' of the everyday politics of 'authenticating' within the social world of New Orleans Jazz. This 'montage' is part philosophy of science, grounded theory and an autoethnography of memory utilizing a unique set of 'riffs' from Porter to Ekins designed to develop what they call a 'case history' of Bunk Johnson, perhaps 'the most important single musician' of New Orleans Jazz, and the politics of 'authenticating as authenticity'. The book gives unique insights into the use of the philosophy of George Herbert Mead within Ekins' specific blend of grounded theory developed in a response to Porter's 'riffs'. The result is a truly groundbreaking account of how to do symbolic interactionist grounded theory, an account that is second to none in its sophistication."