No Other Name? Authenticity, Authority, and Anointing in Christian Popular Music


  • Tom Wagner Reid School of Music, Edinburgh



authenticity, authority, celebrity, Christian popular music, culture industry


This article investigates the role that celebrity plays in a Christian culture industry where authenticity and identity are always understood in relation to spiritual authority. In evangelical Christian (sub)culture, discourses of intention frame musical practice and arise from a historical Protestant emphasis on individual authority that is expressed in a highly-mediated consumer culture in which celebrity is a resource for identity and lifestyle. These discourses are reflexively activated through the evangelical concept of anointing, which fuses individual and institutional authority with spiritual authority. Exploring the ways in which this unfolds offers interesting ways for scholars of popular music to think about the relationship of popular music, celebrity and the culture industries in a variety of other contexts.

Author Biography

Tom Wagner, Reid School of Music, Edinburgh

Tom Wagner is a teaching fellow at the University of Edinburgh’s Reid School of Music. His work on music, religion and marketing appears in the Australian Journal of Communication 39/1 (2014), “Religion as Brands: New Perspectives on the Marketization of Spirituality” and in a forthcoming volume, coedited with Anna Nekola, entitled Singing a New Song: Congregational Music Making and Community in a Mediated Age (Ashgate 2015). https://edinburgh.


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How to Cite

Wagner, T. (2015). No Other Name? Authenticity, Authority, and Anointing in Christian Popular Music. Journal of World Popular Music, 1(2), 324–342.