Who's the Boss? Springsteen on the Alienation and Salvation of Work and Labor

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Book Chapter

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Few artists have earned as much of a reputation for championing the working class as Bruce Springsteen. His songs are replete with references to thankless jobs and grudging bosses that just plain screw up an otherwise decent life. But where among the philosophers of labor should we place him? This chapter examines Springsteen’s lyrics to determine his position on these issues, with particular emphasis on The Ghost of Tom Joad, which takes work and labor as its theme. Let’s survey the way that work and labor are depicted in each phase of Springsteen’s career so that we can form an overall sense of his view, and we’ll save our conclusions for the end.


ISBN 9780812696479 (pbk.)