CfP: This is My City: Popular Music in Australasian Cities

Shelley Brunt and Geoff Stahl (Co-Editors):
“This is My City: Popular Music in Australasian Cities”
Deadline: 25 September 2014

“Well I’m back in the land of second chances, And rock’n’roll shows
where nobody dances
Back in the land of chicken and chips, Mars bars and roadside tips
And if you don’t like it, Then that’s too bad, Cos it’s the only city
that we’ve ever had
This is my city…This is your city…This is our city now”

(“This is My City” Skyhooks – Melbourne, 1976)

Cities are indelibly connected with the production and consumption of popular music. This can take many forms: bands draw inspiration from living, working, and playing in urban centres; songs give emotional shape to cities via sonic and lyrical signifiers; fans and audiences sustain local scenes; rehearsal spaces offer contexts for musical collaboration and performance; large-scale festivals impart a sense of spectacle to cities; and gigs at small venues provide opportunities for moments of shared intimacy. In these and other important respects, popular music gives unique shape to the sociomusical experience of urban life.

In Australasian cities, urban music-making forms a vital part of larger social, material and symbolic dimensions that have given shape and meaning to each city’s unique identity (‘Melbourne: Australia’s Live Music Capital’
or ‘The Dunedin Sound,’ for example). Music-making in this context is also characterized and strengthened by regionally specific musical networks, where the local, the transnational, and the global intersect in promising as well as problematic ways. For migrants or diasporic groups, for example, performing popular musics associated with national culture can articulate a sense of identity (from Vietnamese communities in Western Sydney to Pacific Islanders in South Auckland, among others). Making music in Australasian cities matters, then, in a myriad of ways that take on a distinctive regional cast and significance.

As a way of addressing these and other related issues, this collection aims to explore the links between popular music and cities in the Australasian context, and examine the distinctive social, spatial and musical relationships found in, and between, urban contexts. We are particularly interested in methodologies, approaches and theoretical frameworks from a wide range of disciplines, such as cultural geography, ethnomusicology, sociology, popular music studies, cultural and media studies. Papers should focus on music-making in cities that lie within the geographical region of ‘Australasia’ (Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, Papua New Guinea, Pacific islands, etc). We also welcome comparative studies between
Australasian cities and those outside of this region.

We invite proposals for chapters that focus on, but are not limited to, the following themes:

  • Sex and the city: gender/sexuality, urban space and music
  • Music and migration: diasporas, cultural traditions, invented traditions
  • Urban memories: nostalgia, memorialisation, icons, legacies, heritage, museums, exhibitions
  • Music and urban media: street press, radio, TV, old and new media
  • Urban collectives: scenes, subcultures, audiences, fan cultures
  • Music-making spaces: venues, clubs, recording, rehearsing, playing live music
  • The official city: urban policy, regulation, rejuvenation
  • The quotidian city: music in everyday life, night time economies, routes and routines, public, private and ubiquitous music
  • The eventful city: tourism, branding, music festivals
  • Interurban music-making: touring, sister cities, regional/transnational networks with other cities

150-200 word abstracts/proposals should be sent by 25 September 2014 to: popmusicandthecity@gmail.com

Only original and unpublished proposals will be considered.

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