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

Music, Digitalization, and Democracy

Posted: February 20th, 2019 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

Special Issue of Popular Music and Society

Guest-edited by Johannes Brusila, Martin Cloonan, and Kim Ramstedt

Popular Music and Society invites article proposals for a special issue that examines the connections between music, digitalization, and democracy.  The impact of digitalization on the production, dissemination, and consumption of popular music has been immense since the 1980s.  Scholars, artists, and policymakers have depicted this “digital turn” as being both a potential enhancement of, and a threat to, cultural life.  Business futurists have described increasing financial possibilities created by the new lower cost structures, and visionaries have predicted a greater cultural freedom for larger population groups.

On the other hand, others have questioned the scope of the structural changes in the music industries, emphasizing the reintermediating forces at play and criticizing unfounded hopes of increasing creative activities.  While many of these writings offer a thorough description of industrial and economic developments, less has been written about the cultural dimensions of the changes.  Building on an IASPM-Norden conference on this topic (https://iaspmnorden.wordpress.com/), the special issue aims at bringing together a series of papers that will offer new insights on the subject by focusing on cultural democracy.  The concept democracy is understood in a broad sense, referring to, for example, diversity, equity, access, participation, inclusion, and fairness of music cultures.  Among other things, this includes asking whether digitalization has offered new ways of democratizing culture for audiences that have not previously had access to it, or increased cultural democratization by offering new, independent means to create, disseminate, and consume culture.  In this connection, digitalization and culture may not be separate entities linked by a deterministic causal connection but may be seen as two sides of the same coin, functioning in mutual interdependency.  We are interested in the experiences of a multitude of social, ethnic, and gender groups from many different locations, and therefore encourage scholars with diverse backgrounds in, for example, various minorities to submit proposals.

Questions and issues to be explored within this context may include,
but are not limited to:

  • What kind of technological, institutional, and structural changes have occurred during the last decades and how do these changes relate to the creation, dissemination and consumption of culture?
  • To what extent have processes related to digitalization supported or
    counteracted an increasing diversity or homogenization of culture?
  • How, and for whom, has what kind of music become available as a
    result of recent technological and structural changes?
  • Have new forms of creativity, cultural expressions, and ways of creating and interpreting meanings occurred as a part of
    digitalization processes?
  • How do the processes related to digitalization support, coincide with, or counteract identity processes and cultural belonging, agency,
    and independence?
  • What cultural values and norms related to musical practices have
    persisted or changed as a part of digitalization processes?
  • How can, or should, scholars study the current changes with respect
    to methodology, research theories, social obligations, and ethics?

Send proposals of up to 500 words by 31 March 2019 to guest editor Johannes Brusila at [email protected], with copies to [email protected] and [email protected].  Indicate the name under which you would wish to be published, your professional/academic affiliations, a postal address, and preferred e-mail contact. Proposals will be reviewed for potential inclusion in the journal, with authors of selected papers being informed by 30 April 2019. Authors to be included in the volume should expect to have their full manuscripts prepared by 31 August 2019.  These submissions should be between 6,000 and 8,000 words (inclusive of everything) and should use MLA style.  All affiliations, e-mails, and snail-mail contact information should be supplied in the first submission; however, for purposes of blind peer-review, your name or the names of your coauthors should not appear in the body of the manuscript.  All articles will be peer-reviewed by two reviewers.  Please note that any articles that do not conform to the guidelines will be returned to the author for corrections prior to being sent out for review.  We are happy to receive inquiries about prospective submissions.  Please send all queries to  [email protected], with copies to [email protected] and [email protected].

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