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Call for Papers: Music & Empowerment (English version)

For the fourth yearbook of the German Association for Music Business and Music Culture Research (GMM),published in 2020, edited by Prof. Dr. Michael Ahlers, Lorenz Grünewald-Schukalla M.A., Dr. Anita Jóri, Dr. Holger Schwetter.

The German Association for Music Business and Music Culture Research publishes a yearbook which, in addition to its main topic, provides information on the actual state of research on music business and music culture. Music business and music culture research is not conceived as disciplinary research, but rather as a field of research that reacts to problems and new questions in a situational and transdisciplinary manner and at the same time raises them. The focus is on actual problems and questions, as in this case the question of the possibilities and limits of empowerment in popular music.

Since the 1960s popular music has been highly associated with emancipatory movements and social change. We are particularly interested in the connection between music, economics and empowerment, understood as the possibility of becoming visible and empowering marginalized groups or groups with almost no power. More generally, we would like to examine the different questions of power and exclusion in music cultures and music markets. This touches e.g. (but not exclusively) the topics of gender and diversity, which are currently the subject of intense debate. How do these phenomena currently (and historically) look like?

Second, if one attests that empowerment can be associated with music, then it must also be stated that music economies and music cultures often reproduce social inequalities or produce their own mechanisms of exclusion. Therefore, we would like to know how discussions about empowerment and exclusion are currently conducted in music companies and music scenes.

Third, music research in academia may also replicate power structures and mechanisms of exclusion that have barely been researched.

Possible questions are:

  • How is empowerment in popular music negotiated and discussed?
  • How does popular music contribute to the empowerment of marginalized social groups? How can processes of empowerment be institutionally or jointly supported?
  • How are power relations carried out in music scenes and music cultures? Who decides about the line-up of an event? Who are the gatekeepers and how can you become one of them? A concrete example can be the door policy of clubs: How is it decided to let the people in or not?
  • How do networks replicate themselves in music economies and music cultures and how can they be disrupted, subverted or transformed? How is the subject of empowerment and diversity negotiated in small and big music companies? What are the actual discussions about leadership in the music industry? What are the experiences of those people who do not start their careers from traditionally privileged positions?
  • What are the connections between music-related research and academic power structures in economical or cultural contexts?

The call is addressed to scholars of all disciplines who work on music and empowerment or who want to reflect on their own situation in academia, as well as to practitioners who – as independent actors or employees of music companies – have their own experiences and want to reflect on current trends and problems. The article proposals (max. 1500 words, Word file) should be sent by 17 December 2018 to The acceptance of papers will be announced until December 22, 2018. Submission of contributions is expected until 31 March 2019. The volume will be published in early 2020 and the style guide will be provided in a separate email.

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