Call for Abstracts:
*How Does “Your” Music Sound? Belonging, Communities, and Identities in Popular Music across Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe*
International conference, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia, November 9-10, 2023
Over the past three decades, case studies from Central, Eastern, and South-Eastern Europe have enriched the fields of popular music studies, sonic studies, cultural studies, and ethnomusicology, offering insights into the complex entanglements between music practices, industries, and audiences on the one hand, and different aspects of belonging, identification, and community-formation on the other. Analyses of modern local and regional popular-music manifestations such as (turbofolk, Austropop, chalga, manele, tallava, Serbian trapfolk, Bulgarian trap, Slovenian folk pop etc.) provide an invaluable insight into the multitude of music- and soundscapes in the region. They also present a springboard for further inquiry into the mechanisms, impact, and architectures of belonging, identification, and communities in this diverse space, historically marked by a vibrant dynamic of glitches, ruptures, and connections.
This conference takes its cue from Connell and Gibson’s (2002: 9) perceptively dialectical observation that while “music is simultaneously a commodity and cultural expression, it is also quite uniquely both the most fluid of cultural forms /…/ and a vibrant expression of cultures and traditions, at times held onto vehemently in the face of change.” Music connects people, enabling constellations of listeners, performers, and industry actors that are not always easy to predict, as well as consolidating extant communities based around various notions, such as shared memory, generation, class, gender, or nation. Indeed, recent scholarship has focussed extensively on popular music’s entanglements with space in place in terms of its cultural geographies, transnational and transcultural flows, diasporic significance, scenes, and various kinds of belonging. Ewa Mazierska and Zsolt Győri’s (2018) inspiring edited volume demonstrates the conceptual significance of a transnational approach to studying popular music in Eastern Europe, while Steinbrecher (2020), Kovačič (2022), Archer (2011), Hofman (2010), Dumnić Vilotijević (2020), Stanković (2021), Kaluža (2021), Špirić Beard and Rasmussen (eds., 2021) and Bobnič et al. (2022) point to the need to further broaden the context of discussion, re-examining territorialization processes from a post-transitional European perspective, characterized by a high degree of connectivity, and by shared sensibilities, aesthetics, as well as rhetorical and political strategies. In this space, characterized by mobility and flux, as well as by the proliferation of populist rhetorical strategies that call for exclusionist identification, the Eastern, Central, and South-Eastern European spaces need to be thought alongside one another.