Popular Music and History: Media, Consumption and Politics from the 1950s to 1990s

Deborah Paci's picture
Type: 
Call for Papers
Date: 
July 15, 2022
Subject Fields: 
Contemporary History, Cultural History / Studies, Music and Music History, Popular Culture Studies, Social History / Studies

Popular music in history studies has often been represented as a soundtrack or a sonic counterpoint of big changes, and for a long time it has been mostly considered as a minor source for history, compared with major and proper historical sources. Large scale research work, with greater historiographic impact and results, is mainly focused on a few “traditional” topics. These are: the European erudite music – opera and classical music – which has specific rules and characteristics, and the protest-folk singer and song-writers of the 1960s and 1970s, which are useful to reaffirm the profile of that political generation. It is impossible to predetermine cultural and political value or effects of music because it is an inner part of different practices (social, cultural, political and consumption practices), conflicts, discourses, relationships among individuals and groups.

CSignificant contributions to the study of popular music in history come from different methodological approaches of the cultural studies, media studies, consumption and consumer studies which have displayed new ways to understand music within culture and as culture, laying the foundations for innovative research, able to go beyond traditional binary oppositions: public/private; production/consumption; work/free time, business/home etc.

After the Second World War, we have seen in many occasions how conflicts and consumer cultures have merged, i.e. within youth cultures during the 1960s and 1970s, and how the overlap of protest and mass culture created a spiral of renovation which has changed the public opinion, the mass taste and language, identities and representations. Consumption has a manipulative nature, as well as a liberating power. On one hand, it gives space to choice, democracy, transgression and forms of emancipation and cultural resistance. On the other hand, it narrows individual and collective options, due to the power of lines of class, gender, race, and ethnic group.

How did popular music, as part of consumer culture and as a commodity itself, participate in these processes?

The aim of this number of Diacronie is to contribute to a reflection on the relationship among music, consumption and politics from the 1950s to 1990s, in order to reshape the concept of popular music and to explore new ways to study popular music from a historical perspective.

A more specific, yet non-exclusive, list of themes we are interested in includes the following:

  • Consumption and media:
    • The impact of technologies on sound, on techniques of listening and on consumption of music.
    • Music and cultural transfer across boundaries through different mass media (radio, TV, magazines, music videos, etc.), events and orality.
    • Relationships between public spaces, places of consumption and music (shops, shoppin;g centres, bars, airports, train and bus stations, hospitals etc.).
    • Music industry, sponsorship and music festivals (how it changed consumption of music).
  • Politics and movements:
    • Music and concerts as national and transnational networks of political and cultural phenomena.
    • Class “authenticity” and popular music.
    • Singers and songwriters without movements (old and new identities after the “long 1968”).
    • The transmission of collective, individual memory and cultural heritage through music.
  • Performance, identity and communities:
    • Popular music, youth cultures and generations.
    • Popular music, sexuality and gender.
    • Identity building processes and popular music.
    • Between mainstream and subculture: music, dissidence, commerce.
    • The impact of English-language popular music on youths and other social groups’ language and practices of non-anglo american countries.
    • The impact of popular music and of performances on cultural narratives, representations and auto-representations.
    • The development of fan communities and digital fan communities (magazine, journals, fanzines blog, webzine, social network etc.).

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HOW TO SEND AN ARTICLE

Interested authors should submit an abstract of 250 words (maximum 1500 characters), a short bio of max 100 words (maximum 500 characters) and contact information by email attachment to redazione.diacronie[at]studistorici.com by July 15th 2022 .
Articles should be between 35.000 and 55.000 characters (spaces included) and must respect the editorial norms (accessible at the following link: https://www.studistorici.com/en/instructions-to-authors/editorial-and-bibliographical-guidelines/).
Authors will be notified whether their proposal has been accepted or not by July 22th 2022. The complete article must be submitted by September 30th 2022. All proposals will be subjected to a double-blind peer review. Publication of this issue is scheduled for March 2023.
Abstracts and articles may be submitted in Italian, English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Contributions in Portuguese will be translated into Italian by the editorial board.
For any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at: redazione.diacronie[at]studistorici.com

Contact Info: 

Alessia Masini

(guest editor)