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Sound Identities

Popular Music and the Cultural Politics of Education


Cameron McCarthy, Glenn Hudak, Shawn Miklaucic and Paula Saukko

As we enter the twenty-first century, music is playing an ever-increasing pivotal role in the lives of youth as the vehicle of old and new ideas and fantasies and as the site of the work of youthful imagination. But music is also the location of the hegemonic thrusts of the culture industry, the site of the fabrication of new market-susceptible subjectivities, and the site of the production and reproduction of conservative ideas outright. To understand these dynamics we must reach outside the field of education. Sound Identities offers sustained reflection on the sociocultural implications of youth consumption of popular music such as rap, heavy metal, calypso, and salsa.
If it can be argued that young people construct their identities through the social formation of boundaries, then it is important to uncover how social, cultural, and political boundaries are created and lived through popular music. This is both a pedagogical and political concern. In Sound Identities, contributors pursue these themes throughout: across the terrains of the American nation; across the global dynamics of postcolonial music history; and ultimately back into the micropolitics of the pedagogy of musical affect in the classroom. Collectively the authors insist that we see music as operating within the context of a plurality of techno, ideo, ethno, finance, and media scapes - flows and logics of globalization that fragment, rework, and reintegrate human experience in the progress of music within the circuits of production, distribution, and consumption (Appadurai, 1996). The eighteen essays in this volume foreground a wide array of theoretical and empirical research that looks at the dynamic role that music plays at the level of the everyday lives of today's school youth. Sound Identities is divided into four sections: «Music in the Nation,» «Music in the Postcolony,» «Music in the Contested Metropolis,» and «The Pedagogy of the Musical Affect.»