Bob Dylan as a political dissenter
The topic of this BA Thesis is Bob Dylan as a political dissenter during the 1960s. The main research question is: to what extent can Bob Dylan’s songs written in 1962 and 1963 be considered “protest” songs against the Vietnam war? Answering this question will help establish an analysis of whether or not Bob Dylan may be considered a political dissenter. This is a relevant topic because Bob Dylan can be considered one of the most iconic protest musicians of the 1960s, but the question remains: was he really protesting anything specific of that time? In the first chapter of this thesis I will contextualize what qualifies as a protest song of the sixties. Furthermore, I will explore Dylan’s place within the context of the antiwar movement and the folk music revival. In the second chapter I will analyze the lyrics of “Blowin’ in the Wind”, “With God on Our Side”, “Masters of War” and “Talking World War III Blues” through a narrative analysis based on the theory of Ollerenshaw and Creswell (2002). Lastly, in the third chapter I will explore the media reception of the aforementioned songs and his image as a political dissenter through documentaries about his early years; Don’t Look Back (1967), No Direction Home (2005), and The Other Side of the Mirror (2007). I will analyze the documentaries through a discourse analysis as described by Wodak and Meyer (2008) and apply reception theory as described by Stuart Hall (1999; 2001).
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