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A lecture by Dr. Pauwke Berkers in the Colloquium Philosophicum

Detail Summary
Date 18 February 2016
Time 15:30
Room Room 301, Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16, Amsterdam

Music genres are constitutive of social boundaries as they are often structured along ethno-racial lines. Since Elvis Presley in the 1950s, rock music has been appropriated by whites, edging out non-whites from this music genre – the so-called Elvis Effect. Drawing on two ongoing studies with Julian Schaap, this presentation focuses on how music critics as well as audiences draw ethno-racial boundaries in rock music.

First, using content analyses of professional and lay reviews, our analyses show evidence of social marking: (1) the presence of ethno-racial markers e.g., “Black singer”; (2) the extent to which such markers crowd out aesthetic classifications, e.g. focusing on ethno-racial similarities instead of aesthetic differences; and (3) the way in which ethno-racial markers affect the rating of the album, as unmarked artists are arguably rated as superior.

Second, making use of the innovative subjectivity-based visual Q-methodology and post-sorting interviews, we will demonstrate how (1) non-white musicians are habitually marked as opposed to the unmarked white (male) norm; (2) non-white artists are both seen as tokens and role-models, revealing how difference can function as a double-edged sword; (3) discourses of color-blindness, color-consciousness and ironic minimization are employed to discuss ethno-racial inequality.

Pauwke Berkers (1977) is Assistant Professor of Sociology of Art and Culture at the Department of Arts and Culture Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam. He has published widely on issues of ethno-racial and gender inequality in arts and culture in – amongst others – Poetics, Cultural Sociology, Journal of Gender Studies.

A colloquium presenting current research in music from a variety of perspectives using different research methodologies.

You are more than welcome.

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Room Room 301, Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16, Amsterdam

Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16-18
1012 CP Amsterdam