Music and Politics is an open access, peer-reviewed, academic journal first published in 2007. More...
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- Volume VI, Number 1Winter 2012
- Volume V, Number 2Summer 2011
- Volume V, Number 1Winter 2011
- Volume IV, Number 2Summer 2010
- Volume IV, Number 1Winter 2010
- Paul Anderson (University of Michigan)
- Paul Attinello (University of Newcastle)
- Laura Basini (California State University)
- Michael Beckerman (New York University)
- Timothy J. Cooley (UC Santa Barbara)
- James R. Currie (University at Buffalo)
- Dick Flacks (UC Santa Barbara)
- Shirli Gilbert (University of Michigan)
- Nancy Guy (UC San Diego)
- Áine Heneghan (University of Washington)
- Pamela Potter (University of Wisconsin)
- Tricia Rose (Brown University)
- Silvio J. dos Santos (University of Florida)
- Jeremy Smith (University of Colorado)
- Joseph N. Straus (CUNY)
Volume VI, Number 2 (2012) Current Issue
Dmitry Shostakovich’s first visit to the United States was an appearance at the Cultural and Scientific Conference for World Peace in New York City in March 1949. He was serving as one of five delegates from the Soviet Union, and as a delegate he listened as his translators read a prepared speech, mumbled brief answers to a few awkward questions, played on the piano once, attended a few concerts, and then left with cartons of cigarettes under his arm. The conference was described in the popular press as pro-Communist propaganda, and protestors picketed the streets outside the Waldorf. Many Americans, however, were familiar with Shostakovich’s music, and many knew about the recent banning of his works in the Soviet Union. The popularity of his music in the United States meant that Shostakovich did not receive the same disparaging treatment by his public as did the other cultural delegates. Indeed, the American audience, both in the conference and on the streets, showed him a great deal of sympathy and support. Shostakovich’s visit to the United States as a Soviet delegate to the Waldorf Conference is a case study in the often contradictory public messages sent during the early years of the Cold War, and the vital role of music, even when not very present, in cross-cultural exchange.
“Wailing in the Cities”: Media, Modernity, and the Metamorphosis of Georgian Women’s Expressive Labor
In the Republic of Georgia, the percentage of female professionals participating in politics has sunk to its lowest level since the country became independent in 1991, but as a whole Georgian women have never been so publicly outspoken as they are today, airing political grievances and confronting crisis and conflict on national television. In this paper I argue that there are fundamental continuities between Georgian women’s performances of personal pain and political outrage in the televised media today and their more traditional role as arbiters of interior and exterior worlds and proclaimers of suffering in the historical funeral lament genre. I therefore trace a culturally specific division of expressive labor, defined as the differentiation of functions and appropriate demeanors pertaining to the articulation of grief and discontent, along gender lines. Today, distraught women frequently appear on televised news programs, calling attention to abuses of power by the incumbent government and defending Georgia’s national integrity while its overwhelmingly patriarchal political institutions consistently fall flat in the face of crisis. My present inquiry therefore interrogates the role of media in reproducing hierarchical gender relations, or—put another way—how technology has been pressed into the service of maintaining local, culturally specific social-discursive conventions in new, mass-mediated genres of performance.
Nationalism, Authoritarianism and Cultural Construction: Carlos Chávez and Mexican Music (1921–1952)
Luis Velasco Pufleau
The musical nationalism in post-revolutionary Mexico was a complex phenomenon that resists a simplistic or historicist view. Its analysis requires a multidisciplinary perspective, sometimes historical, political, sociological, ideological, and musical. This article examines the notion of musical nationalism between 1916 and 1949 from the perspective of the ideological transformations of its most significant institutional protagonist, the composer Carlos Chávez (1899–1978), and his interaction with the post-revolutionary Mexican regime. The political, sociological, and aesthetic ideas of Chávez are documented in his extensive journalistic and theoretical writings, as well as his correspondence. Through the contextualization of these writings it is possible to retrace the strategies Chávez used to legitimate his positions within the Mexican musical environment and explain the process through which he became the official composer of the post-revolutionary regime. The notions of race, nationalism, cultural evolution, aesthetic education, and Mexican music, among others, are determinant factors for the comprehension of Chávez’s conception of nationalism and the aesthetic development of his work. Additionally, outside the country’s border, the role of American music societies [medio musical], particularly the activities of the International Composers’ Guild, was decisive for the legitimization of Carlos Chávez’s musical persona within Mexico. An analysis that takes into consideration all of these factors is not only pertinent but also necessary for the aesthetic and political study of the process of cultural construction in post-revolutionary Mexico, as well as the role that institutions exerted in controlling national artistic production. This study reevaluates the mechanisms of symbolic legitimation of the authoritarian regime in post-revolutionary Mexico, as well as the relationship between authoritarianism, nationalism, cultural construction, and musical creation.
Music copyright, as well as other intellectual property rights (IPRs), has always been closely linked to technological shifts. The introduction of the printing press in the mid-fifteenth century started the process toward copyright in tangible items like books, music scores, CDs, posters, and T-shirts. These products are all private goods in that they are rivalrous and excludable. Once an item has been bought, nobody else can buy it. Broadcast rights, mechanical rights, and blank media levies also appeared as the results of new technologies. The digital revolution and the Internet call for new amendments to the current IPR legislation.
The books listed in this column address music as it relates to political expression or focus to a significant degree on power relationships between individual musicians or musical communities and a governing authority. Most of the works listed were published within the previous half year. Readers are welcome to submit additional titles to firstname.lastname@example.org for possible inclusion in the next issue.