Eurovision Song is not Pop: How National Identity in Eurovision Defines the Function of the Eurovision Song
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This thesis is an exploration and analysis of how national identity is expressed in Eurovision songs and performances, using previously established theories on national identity in Europe and Eurovision. The hypothesis under which this research operates is that the inherent expression of national identity changes the function and interpretive experience of Eurovision songs throughout their lifetime, distinguishing them from the ‘popular music sphere’ as defined by Adorno, and therefore making Eurovision songs separate to pop songs. I find little has been written on the subject of Eurovision songs and performances in relation to popular music and art, nor their function and lifecycle. This thesis is divided into three chapters: the first outlines the theoretical structure that builds the analysis used in the case studies, using previously established theories to define national identity in the context of Eurovision. The second chapter – the case studies – is an analysis of four songs and performances from the Eurovision 2018 final using the framework developed in the first chapter. This chapter is intended to demonstrate the applicability of the framework presented in the first chapter, and how national identity is inherently expressed in Eurovision performances and songs. The third and final chapter discusses the ways in which this expression of national identity predetermines the function and ‘interpretive experience’ of a Eurovision song and its performance, therefore making it separate from the popular music sphere and not a pop song. This chapter also studies the lifecycle and temporality of the Eurovision song, and how this is part of the function, as predetermined by the arena in which it is presented. It is hoped that this thesis can offer a distinction between Eurovision and popular music, and a greater understanding of how Eurovision song is interpreted.