David Bowie and Britain in the early 1970s

Krin Riccardo, Korte Franziska, Klaschka Marie, Fejerskov Daniel Olesen, Ulbricht Sebastian & Villadsen Niels

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


David Bowie is one of the most important musicians in the late 20th century. His music has been influential in shaping the identity of young people for decades. This project focuses on the period of time from the late 1960s to the early 1960s, in which he was creating a name for himself. In this project we analyze two of his albums, Hunky Dory (1971) and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972), in relation to the social changes taking place in Britain at the time. Young people were becoming ever more affluent and educated during this period of time, and they were no longer content to conform to the traditional patterns of behavior set forth by their parents. They were increasingly willing to fight for causes that mattered to them personally. This included the right to more education, and the fight for civil rights for minorities. The social changes, and David Bowie’s own life are described in a separate chapter in this project. We investigate the relationship between David Bowie’s music and the changes that society underwent, through the lenses of two theories, namely queer theory and social identity theory. Queer theory seeks to undermine the traditional narrative of society as being constructed of binary oppositions, such as homo/heterosexual, black and white and young and old. These oppositions are explored, and it is investigated which experiences do not fit into the traditional narrative. Whereas queer theory is used here to understand the motivations of individuals, social identity theory is used to understand the group dynamics of society at the time. In our analyses of six songs from the two albums, we found that themes of social change, of the conflict between the old and the young generation, and the need to embrace minorities, and especially the queer element of society, were significant. In our discussion we related our findings to the historical background, and were able to better understand the changes through Bowie’s music. This project concluded that society was undergoing rapid change during the 1960s and 1970s, and that David Bowie comments on and encourages these changes in his music.

UddannelserEngelsk, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Bachelor el. kandidat
Udgivelsesdato20 maj 2015
VejledereGuldberg Kasper R.


  • Bowie
  • Queer Theory
  • Britain
  • 1970s