CFP: Audiences and their musics: new approaches

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CALL FOR PAPERS

Special issue of Networking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA-PGN

Audiences and their musics: new approaches

There is a certain imbalance in the way we analyse sound, compared to the way we research images. Listening feels somehow more passive than watching or reading. Even in academic writing, we operate with phrases that accentuate this visual bias, such as ‘as we can see’ or ‘to shed light’. This imbalance is especially striking when considering modes of engagement with music media. While a body of audience research has been able to make connections to reception and literary studies (arguing that the interpretative work of the viewer mediates the reproduction of textual meanings), modes of listening, on the other hand, have been traditionally confined to the domains of semantics, musicology and sound studies.

As a result, dichotomies of music-listening experiences have been imagined: ‘deep’ versus ‘superficial’, ‘conscious’ versus ‘background’, ‘everyday’ versus ‘special’, ‘motivated by aesthetic pleasure’ versus ‘motivated by goal achievement’. These modes have not only been treated as mutually exclusive, but also as indicative of music, genre and individual characteristics of the listener, thus being rarely understood to exist simultaneously or to influence each other. On the other hand, even acknowledging that music is accompanied by a plethora of other stimuli, analysing these engagements in detail remains vital, as empirical data suggests that audiences consciously switch between modes, and identify them as such. As recent studies suggest, placing the media experience within the rich context of everyday life does not preclude multimodality; on the contrary – it allows us to make important connections between media, the personal and the social.This special issue will seek contributions that critically engage with the shift from formalist approaches to music to a model encompassing the experiences of listeners. Postgraduate students and early career researchers across the social sciences and humanities are invited to submit. We are especially looking for original, empirical work that tests and challenges existing theorisations of listening modes, and/or proposes new conceptualisations.

Abstracts should be no more than 250 words for papers of approx. 6,000 words. Accepted papers will be published in a special guest-edited issue of Networking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA-PGN.

Possible topics might include but are not limited to:
–          Music in everyday life: what does it mean?
–          Un/changing listener experiences in the digital age
–          New practices of music participation
–          Music and generations; music and class
–          Taste and preferences: still relevant?
–          The genre in listening-          Western and non-western music audiences.

Abstracts should be sent to the guest editor Rafal Zaborowski at r.zaborowski@lse.ac.uk by 8 December 2014. For enquiries please contact Rafal or the journal general editor Simon Dawes atsimondawes0@gmail.com

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