Saturday, October 06, 2012

Gender construction and American 'Free Folk' music(s)

Sorry, I haven't been updating this blog. However, my diploma thesis, finished earlier this year, is out there:

"This exploratory study attempts to locate gender in heterogeneous, dynamic fields of American underground music that are best described by tracing the complex social relations that constitute them. Rhizomatic concepts (Deleuze / Guattari) are combined with Bennett and Peterson’s scene concept (local / trans-local / virtual). As the scenes are constituted on an everyday level and between like-minded friends, they can be discussed in ‘folk’ terms (via Keenan and Valentine). Gender is conceptualized as not essential and as multiply relational (via Scott and Griesebner). Tracing the field of research along narrations collected through qualitative / problem-centered interviews, mostly with musicians, the thesis can be understood as analogous to the concept of ‘minor history’ (Joseph / Kelley). The scenes are discussed in all their heterogeneity and contingency. Over the course of eight sub-chapters, a dense web is constructed that establishes connections between the results of these qualitative interviews’ analysis and further literature. These scenes appear very open and are constituted through friendship and mutual support; there is a fruitful tension between the scenes’ oft-perceived collectivity and their interest in individual creativity. DIY (Do It Yourself)-based creativity is relevant. Gender roles and relations, while rarely consciously questioned in performance, aren’t very rigid. Through some of these musics, gender and authorship are challenged, although rarely explicitly so; instruments’ use is heterogeneous and usually not measured according to rock music’s gendered standards. Nonetheless, at times quasi-archaic patterns and rigidities are encountered. The thesis closes with a plea for (self-)reflection on numerous levels."

If you get around to reading it and feel like sending me feedback, please do so -- I'd be utterly delighted to read it. I might post some more info / thoughts on the thesis and its genesis at some point.

Another thing that has been out there for a while now but not yet mentioned on this blog is my article on Not Not Fun for last year's Elevate Festival, in English and German.