Ex Omnibus Linguis Reviews of
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in Journals and Magazines

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Reviews by
Dave Laing, London

Body & Society British Journal of Sociology Camera Obscura Cultural Studies European Law Review Harvard International Journal of Press-Politics Journal of Popular Culture
Media, Culture & Society New York Review of Books Perfect Beat Popular Music Popular Music & Society Public Culture Research Studies in Music Education
Social Identities Social Text Sociological Review Technology
& Culture
Telos Theory Culture & Society  

Body & Society
ISSN 1357-034X

Review in RPM#25 (Winter 1997/1998)

1997, vol. 3/2, pp. 43-66
Tia De Nora
Music and Erotic Agency -
Sonic Resources and Socio-Sexual Action

From a mainly constructionist perspective, De Nora contends that music is a "resource for the disciplinization of the body, emotion, and action". She discusses the role of background music in "erotic situations", notably Ravel‘s Bolero which she says "lasts for fifteen minutes and as an icon of erotic temporality can stand for the tone, pacing and duration of the real time sexual event".

British Journal of Sociology
ISSN 0007-1315

Review in RPM#27/28 (Winter/Spring 1998/1999)

1998, vol 49 no 2, pp 234-51
David Hesmondhalgh
The British dance music industry:
a case study of independent cultural production.

While the British dance scene is now the subject of at least four full-length books, this is the first attempt to situate it in the ongoing debates about `independence' in the cultural economy.

Camera Obscura
ISSN 0270-5346

Review in RPM#25 (Winter 1997/1998)

1995, vol. 36, pp, 135-153
Marla Shelton
Whitney is Every Woman?
Cultural Politics and the Pop Star.

‘Whitney Houston‘s representation of blackness and black womanhood in American culture builds on an image web where the politics of race, class, gender and sexuality converge" says Shelton. Which is a rather bland conclusion to an otherwise useful interpretation of Ms Houston as singer, actress, spouse and public image. Theory is provided by Paul Gilroy and Stuart Hall.

Cultural Studies
ISSN 0950-2386

Review in RPM#25 (Winter 1997/1998)

1997, vol. 11/2, pp. 207-234
Line Grenier & Jocelyne Guilbault
Créolité and Francophonie in music:
socio-musical repositioning where it matters.

This is a powerful attempt to think beyond the increasingly unproductive categories of ‘global/local‘ and ‘production/consumption‘ in popular music studies. Grenier and Guilbault make a strong case for foregrounding ideas of ‘inter-national‘ and ‘inter-local‘ flows of music and for a new focus on ‘regimes of circulation‘ rather than on production or distribution. This is destined to become a highly influential paper.

1997, vol. 11/2, pp. 316-344
John Hartigan Jr
Unpopular Culture:
The Case of White Trash.

In England, the term "white trash" was frequently and indiscriminately used by journalists term in connection with the Presley anniversary. Hartigan is more careful in his definition and though much of his article deals with fiction and audio-visual media, there are some interesting comments on country music and on the irrepressible Mojo Nixon.

Review in RPM#29 (SpringSummer 2000)

1999, vol 13 no 3 (July), pp 509-534
Shuhei Hosokawa. 
‘Salsa No Tiene Frontera’.
Orquestra de La Luz and the Globalisation of Popular Music.

The phenomenon of bands striving to create simulacra of foreign music styles is now widespread. Hosokawa describes a Japanese salsa band but also gives an interesting discussion of the elements in Japanese culture which encourage such practices.

European Law Review
ISSN 0307-5400

Review in RPM#25 (Winter 1997/1998)

1997, vol. 22/4, pp. 352- 361
Paul Torremans & Irini Stamatoudi
Collecting societies
sorry the Community is no longer interested.

A rather specialist article but good value for those of us thrilled by international copyright politics. The European Commission has recently decided that it should not pronounce on the complaint by French disco owners that they are paying above the average European rate in music royalties. The authors see this as a decision to ignore the activities of SACEM, GEMA, PRS and the other copyright societies and claim that consequently "the collecting societies may be able to get away with certain potentially detrimental practices".

Harvard International Journal of Press-Politics
ISSN 1081-180X

Review in RPM#29 (SpringSummer 2000)

1999, vol 4 no2 Spring, pp 4-9
Thomas Middelhoff
The Bertelsmann Vision

A ‘mission statement’ from the boss of one of the leading multinational media groups whose holdings include BMG with its RCA and Arista labels.

Journal of Popular Culture

Review in RPM#27/28 (Winter/Spring 1998/1999)

1997, vol 31.2, pp 115-129
Christine Yano
Inventing Selves....

A study of the Japanese `country music' Enka and the images it provides of contemporary Japanese society. Covering some of the same territory as her paper at the Kanazawa conference Yano examines how the images of Enka singers are `cultibated and perpetuated'.

Media, Culture & Society
ISSN 0163-4437

Review in RPM#29 (SpringSummer 2000)

1999, vol 21 no 2 (March), pp 205-222
Ryuzo Uchida
Memory and Transformation of social experience in modern Japan:
rethinking the song ‘Home’.

Uchida explains the significance of Ministry of Education songs which were taught in Japanese schools in the pre-World War II period and considers the ideologies embodied in one of them.

New York Review of Books
ISSN 0028-7504


Perfect Beat
ISSN 1038-2909

Review in RPM#25 (Winter 1997/1998)

1997, vol. 3/2, pp. 32-59
Michael Webb
A Long Way From Tipperary -
music culture in early colonial Rabaul.

Webb looks in detail at the mingling from the First World War period to the 1930s of German, Malay, Chinese and Australian music cultures with that of the indigenous Tolai in a major city of what is now Papua New Guinea. Webb says "sound became a complex, shared, expressive medium, evidenced by the inter-racial participation in particular music contexts and genres" but "neither the meanings of performances and sound worlds nor the co-operation in performance contexts between various social or racial collectivities is easily reducible to either colonial compliance or resistance".

1997, vol. 3/2, pp. 60-76
Geoff Stahl
Citing The Sound:
New Zealand Indie Rock in North America.

Another article from what is the hottest music journal around at the moment. Inspired by Will Straw‘s renowned deployment of ‘scene‘ as a concept and by Mark Slobin‘s notion of ‘micromusic‘, Stahl describes the networks of fans (or ‘connoisseurs‘ as they are now known) and the political economy of labels and distributors which make up the niche market for Kiwi guitar bands halfway across the world.

Popular Music
ISSN 0261-1430

Review in RPM#25 (Winter 1997/1998)

1997, vol. 16/2, pp. 150-178
Keir Keightley
"Turn it down!" she shrieked.
Gender, domestic space and high fidelity 1948-1959.

A joy to read, full of amusing and pertinent examples - if anything this article is overstuffed with details. But Keightley draws some fascinating conclusions from his evidence : not only that "the deployment of high-fidelity equipment can be seen as a strategy for reconfiguring gendered space as masculine" but also that the discourse around hi-fi in the 1950s which offered a technological escape into irrationality prefigured the quintessentially 1960s image of "the rock fan on LSD listening to a stereo LP on headphones".

Review in RPM#27/28 (Winter/Spring 1998/1999)

1998, vol 17 no 2 May, pp. 153-185
Carol Vernallis
The aesthetics of music video:
an analysis of Madonna's `Cherish `

Probably the most detailed work on a single music video yet published. Vernallis ambitiously attempts to exemplify the position put forward by Andrew Goodwin and others that the visual dimension of music video can only be understood through an analysis of musical structure.

Review in RPM#29 (SpringSummer 2000)

1999, vol 18 no 1 (January), pp 1-18
Christopher Ballantine
Looking to the USA:
the politics of male close-harmony song in South Africa during the 1940s and 1950s.

Fascinating discussion of the influence of US black vocal groups by one of the leading South African music scholars.

Popular Music & Society
ISSN 0300-7766

Review in RPM#27/28 (Winter/Spring 1998/1999)

1997 vol 21 no 2, pp 47-70
Martin Cloonan
State of the Nation:
Englishnes, Pop and Politics in the mid 1990s.

A very thorough survey of the topic which unearths five types of `pop Englishness' and discusses such musical identities as `non-white English' and `British v English'. The previous issue of this journal (vol 21 no 1) marked its 21st anniversary with a bibliography of its founder, the late R. Serge Denisoff and startling revelations from Andrew Goodwin in `On Being A Pop Professor'.

Public Culture

Review in RPM#27/28 (Winter/Spring 1998/1999)

1997 vol 10 no 1, pp. 204-6
Philip V Bohlman
Recorded Music and the Resurgence of European Pilgrimage

A brief but informative report on recent cassettes of devotional music from Germany and Herzegovina which Bohlman links to The Chieftains Granmmy-winning album Santiago.

Research Studies in Music Education
ISSN 1321-103X

Review in RPM#29 (SpringSummer 2000)

1999, vol. 13

This issue is devoted to research on popular music studies. Articles cover: the uses of popular music in playground singing games by Australian elementary school pupils; USA pre-service music educators' attitudes to and practices of popular music in classrooms; discussion of the issues surrounding attempts to include indigenous Australian popular music in curriculums; problems with analytical models for popular music and the implications of these for music teaching and learning; pedagogical perspectives to analysis of jazz.

Peter Dunbar-Hall

Social Identities
ISSN 1350-4630

Review in RPM#25 (Winter 1997/1998)

1997, vol. 3/2, pp. 275-290
Robert Stam
From Hybridity to the Aesthetics of Garbage.

Stam is mainly writing about underground Brazilian film-making using the ideas of Bakhtin. But he makes the point that many Latin American artists and musicians had created their own aesthetics of hybridity before academic gurus like Homi Bhaba came along. There‘s an interesting discussion of Gilberto Gil‘s songs.

Social Text
ISBN 0-8223-6452-2

Review in RPM#27/28 (Winter/Spring 1998/1999)

1997 vol 15 no 3-4, pp. 104-32
Judith Halberstam:
Mackdaddy, Superfly, Rapper:
Gender, Race and Masculinity in the Drag King Scene.

Halberstam, a participant in the scene, describes rap and soul drag kings at play in New York and London and traces the scene's roots to Gladys Bentley and other women blues singers of the 1920s.

Review in RPM#29 (SpringSummer 2000)

1999, no 60 vol 17 no 3 (Fall) , pp 87-109
Barbara M. Cooper. 
The Strength in the Song. 
Muslim Personhood, Audible Capital and Hausa Women’s Performance of the Hajj.

Cooper challenges conventional notions of modernising cultures by examining an oral innovation whereby women now enact the pilgrimage to Mecca in improvised song/prayers.

Sociological Review
ISSN 0038-0261

Review in RPM#27/28 (Winter/Spring 1998/1999)

1997 vol 45 no 4, pp. 645-667
Derrick Purdue, Jörg Dürrschmidt,
Peter Jowers and Richard O'Doherty:
DIY Culture and extended milieux:
LETS, veggie boxes and festivals.

A `social network analysis' of alternative activities in the West of England. The section on festivals (including Glastonbury) argues that they introduce `global cultural flows of music and mobile networks of performers and traders directly into particular localities'.

Review in RPM#29 (SpringSummer 2000)

1999, vol 47 no 1 (February), pp 1-24
Andy Bennett
Rappin’ on the Tyne:
white hip hop culture in North East England - an ethnographic study.

The full version of a paper which Bennett discussed at the IASPM Sydney conference last year.

Technology & Culture
ISSN 0040-165X

Review in RPM#27/28 (Winter/Spring 1998/1999)

1998, vol. 39 no 2, pp. 213-244
David Morton:
Armour Research Foundation and the Wire Recorder:
How Academic Entrepreneurs Fail

Morton charts the swift rise and fall of the wire recorder in the USA from 1945 to the early 1950s in the context of the early history of the consumer tape industry. Contains some useful information on the record business in this era.

ISSN 0090-6514

Review in RPM#25 (Winter 1997/1998)

1996, vol. 107. Pp. 63-80
Evelyn Wilcock
Adorno, Jazz and Racism
Über Jazz and the 1934-7 British Jazz Debate.

Full of fascinating detail about debates on anti-Semitism in the pages of Melody Maker and other 1930s magazines which Wilcock claims "reveals a rich picture of Adorno‘s concerns" at the time he was in England writing his notorious jazz article.

Theory Culture & Society
ISSN 0263-2764

Review in RPM#25 (Winter 1997/1998)

1997, vol. 14/3, pp. 109-123
Johan Fornäs
Text and Music Revisited.

A leading IASPM member offers his perspective on how music and lyrics interact. He concludes that "music and text are not the two autonomous and opposing fields they seem but relative gravitational centres within the streams of human communication".

1997, vol. 14/3, pp. 125-142
Motti Regev
Rock Aesthetics and Musics of the World.

The 12-inch version of his keynote address given at the Kanazawa conference. It is an admirably ambitious attempt to draw together a lot of work on the impact of Anglo-American rock and to offer an alternative to the cultural imperialism debate. He summarizes his own position in this way : "The use of the rock aesthetic for constructing contemporary national or local styles of popular music provides....a sense of being at the same time ‘modern universal‘ and ‘local‘ or ‘national‘ ". This ‘sense of being‘ is further defined in terms of Bourdieu‘s notion of ‘habitus‘.

Review in RPM#29 (SpringSummer 2000)

Vol 16 (4) 1999, pp127-135
Mario Vieira de Carvalho.
‘New Music’ between Search for Identity and Autopoesis

A discussion of the work of the Italian composer Luigi Nono which links his aim to promote ‘meaning-producing listeners to the ideas of Gramsci and Benjamin.

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