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​Sounds, scenes and urban policies: Contemporary issues and new horizons for the geographies of music

Posted: October 28th, 2017 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

Call for Papers – ​AAG 2018, New Orleans, April 10-14, 2018

Organisers: Séverin Guillard (Université Paris-Est Créteil), Ola Johansson (University of Pittsburgh) & Joseph Palis (University of the Philippines-Diliman)

Sponsored by: Media and Communication Specialty Group

Over the last few decades, a rich body of literature has showed the importance of studying music to understand the spatial dimensions of societies. In the field of geography, several works have focused on the role that music has had in the construction and perception of specific places and spaces: scholarship addressed issues such as the ability of songs and performances to build mental maps of cities or regions, and to challenge the dominant practices and norms associated to them, the way music was used by local authorities in order to (re)brand and regenerate a locality, the circulation of music genres in a context of cultural globalization (Leyshon et al., 1995; Connell and Gibson, 2003; Anderson et al., 2005; Johansson and Bell, 2009; Canova, 2013).

Far from being limited to geography, reflections on the spatial dimensions of music have also been carried out in other fields of study. This has been particularly crucial in Popular Music Studies, where a spatial turn occurred in the 1990s and 2000s. In this field, most scholars focused on the specific spatiality developed through songs and practices. Part of the studies analyzed music genres as sites of production for well-structured geographical imaginaries, that were evolving through time, at the crossroad of issues of race, class and gender (Peterson, 1997; Forman, 2002). Others focused more on the contexts of the music activities, giving birth to a significant literature on music scenes (Straw, 1991 ; Bennett and Peterson, 2004).

Given its location in New Orleans, a city strongly shaped by musical practices and imaginaries, the 2018’s AAG meeting seemed the perfect place to continue these debates. While paying attention to the legacy of these different reflections on music, space and place, this session will intend to push them in new directions. These orientations may concern both the evolution of the music spatiality and the ways scholars can approach them. To this end, we welcome papers addressing (but not limited to) the following themes and topics:

1/ Geography of/through songs and performances
While a whole body of works have dealt with the geographical imaginaries conveyed by music songs and performances, it seems that there are ways to deepen the analysis by pushing them in several directions. To this end, we will particularly welcome papers that go beyond a mere textual analysis to observe the geography of the sonic and performing aspects of music. Similarly, we warmly welcome scholars who have a background as a musician/DJ to propose a paper where they can combine a geographical analysis with element of live performance.

2/ The evolution of music scenes and industries
Recently, the music industry has been under important changes due diverse factors, such as the crisis of the record industry and the rise of online consumption of music. This has led to a strong reorganization of the music sector, with an acceleration of exchanges between formerly isolated scenes, evolutions in the deals between artists and labels, or a new investment of major companies in the live music business. Following the first works released on the role technology in music production and consumption (Leyshon, 2014 ; Hracs et al., 2016), we will particularly be interested in papers that will approach these new changes in music activities and their consequences on the geography of music.

3/ The role of music in urban development, tourism and heritage policies
The use of music in both tourism and urban renewal strategies was noticed early on by scholars, both in geography (Connell and Gibson, 2005) and beyond (Cohen, 2007). However, the last few decades have showed an acceleration of this process, with local authorities intending to appear as “creative” places in order to reinforce their attractiveness. Regarding this issue, we will welcome papers dealing with all types of location, both in the US and abroad, but we also encourage papers that will observe the role of music in the development and image of New Orleans.

Please submit abstracts (no more than 250 words) or inquiries of interest by 6 November 2017 to

Joseph Palis – [email protected]
Séverin Guillard – [email protected]

or contact us for inquiries. Potential papers should also submit their abstracts directly to AAG.

Anderson B., Morton F., Revill G. (ed.), 2005, “Practice of music and sound”, Social & Cultural Geography, 6:5, pp.639-644
Bennett A. et Peterson R., 2004, Music Scenes. Local, Translocal and Virtual, Nashville, Vanderbilt University Press, 264p.
Canova N., 2013, “Music in French geography as space marker and placer maker”, Social & Cultural Geography, 14:8, pp.861-867
Cohen S., 2007, Decline, Renewal and the City in Popular Music Culture: Beyond the Beatles, Farnham, Ashgate, 252p.
Connell J., Gibson C., 2003, Sound tracks, popular music, identity and place, London, New-York, Routledge, 320p.
Connell J., Gibson C., 2005, Music And Tourism: On the Road Again, Bristol, Channel View Publications, 312p.
Forman M., 2002, The hood comes first : race, space and place in rap and hip-hop, Middletown, Wesleyan, 400 p.
Hracs B., Seman M., Virani T., 2016, The Production and Consumption of music in the Digital Age, Abingdon-on-Thames, Routledge, 278p.
Johansson O. and Bell T., 2009, Sound, Society and the Geography of Popular Music, Farnham / Burlington, 305p.
Leyshon A., 2014, Reformatted: Code, Networks, and the Transformation of the Music Industry, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 224p.
Leyshon A., Matless D., Revill G., 1995, “The Place of Music [Introduction]”, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series, Vol.20, N°4, pp.423-433
Peterson R., 1997, Creating Country Music. Fabricating Authenticity, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 320p.
Straw W., 1991, “System of Articulation and Logic of Change: Communities and Scenes in Popular Music”, in Cultural Studies, 5:3, pp.368-88

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