Welcome to The International Association for the Study of Popular Music UK and Ireland Branch

Experts, non-experts and participatory construction of knowledge: the case of research on popular music

Posted: February 28th, 2019 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

(Dir. Christophe Pirenne and Christophe Levaux, U Liège, Belgium)

After four decades of institutionalising popular music studies, the subjects and objectives defined in several essential texts published from the end of the 1970s onwards (Frith 1978, Tagg 1982, Wicke 1990, Middleton 1990), seem to have been largely covered. Whether in terms of methodology, interdisciplinarity, decompartmentalisation or decentralisation; or even in terms of institutional recognition and integration into the academic sphere, the knowledge acquired has been considerable to the point of sometimes influencing, in return, the disciplines from which popular music studies originally drew its inspiration. However, many questions remain unanswered. Have popular music studies truly embraced all types of popular music? Have popular music specialists really succeeded in studying the repertoires listened to by all social groups? Hasn’t the initial struggle of popular music studies against various forms of cultural elitism actually been transposed to popular repertoires? Can we refer to over- or under-representation in the scope of styles, genres and communities associated with them? Can or should a balance be guaranteed and how? Do the studies relating to the participatory construction of knowledge offer new opportunities for the study of popular music? Is it ultimately a question of rethinking the role of experts and non-experts in the elaboration of narratives relating to the latter?

The purpose of this special edition of Volume ! The French journal of popular music studies is to offer a retrospective and critical reflection on the initial vocation of popular music studies to bring to light seldom studied and sometimes discredited repertoires. It also aims to encourage new reflections and avenues of research regarding this initial vocation by especially envisaging the collaboration of experts and non-experts in the knowledge-building process.

Below is a non-exhaustive list of themes that could be covered in the proposed articles:

  • Historiography and critical historiography of popular music studies;
  • Relationships between culture and issues of power, cultural studies;
  • Science, technology and society, actor-network theory and construction of participatory knowledge;
  • The influence of the sociology of popular music, the musicology of popular music, the history of popular music, the economics of popular music on their respective ‘mother’ disciplines;
  • The established role of fans and fandom on the academic study of popular music.

There are two parts to the assessment process. The contributors shall first send their proposed articles comprised of 6.000 characters to Christophe Pirenne, Christophe Levaux and the Volume ! team to the following email addresses: [email protected], [email protected] and equipe@seteun.net before 30 March 2019. After notification of the first selection in April, the chosen authors must send in their contributions before 1 October 2019. These complete versions will then be assessed anonymously, by experts in the field, in accordance with the journal’s editorial process.

Frith Simon (1978), The Sociology of Rock, Londres, Constable.
Middleton Richard (1990), Studying Popular Music, Milton Keynes & Philadelphie, Open University Press.
Tagg Philip (1982), « Analysing Popular Music: Theory, Method and Practice », Popular Music, vol. 2, 37-65.
Wicke Peter (1990), « Rock Music: Dimensions of a Mass Medium – Meaning Production through Popular Music », Canadian University Music Review, vol. 10, no 2, 137-156.

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