cfp: Cantautore: the Songwriter in Culture and the Media

Cantautore: the Songwriter in Culture and the Media

Edited by Olivier Julien (Université Paris-Sorbonne), Massimo Locatelli (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore), Elena Mosconi (Università di Pavia/Cremona)

“Cantautore” is a project that aims to reconsider the role and figure of the singer-songwriter in Italian and international culture.

The singer-songwriter is a mythical figure in popular imagination in different countries, a bridge between a variety and even contradictory forms of experience, both cultural and social. In the Italian context, it has been respectively interpreted in social history as a symptom of collective traumas (Bonanno 2009, Santoro 2010), and in popular music studies as a successful pop icon (Gentile 1979, Borgna 1995-2004), or as a genre (Fabbri, 1982) and – consequently – as an ideological construction (Tomatis, 2019). Only recently, has the transnational dimension of this phenomenon been stressed out and problematized further (Green and Marc 2013, Looseley 2013, Marc 2016).

The starting hypothesis of this call is that this production formula in the record industry emerged in Italy, influenced mainly by experiences in France and North America, in response to the social crises of the Sixties and Seventies. It offered a poetic account of the shared understanding of the time, as well as style models and fruition experiences perceived by the public as authentic. It gave life to an all-round communicative model, which could be used in different contexts and is still probably re-emerging in contemporary media culture.

To define the singer-songwriter phenomenon, and hopefully describe the cultural value of the songwriter icon in a broader sense, in summoning it will be useful to keep the spectrum of interpretative approaches wide, and apply an interdisciplinary perspective:

  • textual and musicological analysis, in short, what we can call “poetics”;
  • iconographic research on the performances and on the public image of the songwriter (as a star or as a counter-cultural hero, e.g.);
  • studies on liveness and authenticity;
  • analysis of the media forms through which this image is circulated (or circulates);
  • studies on audiences and fandom;
  • comparative analysis between a “classic” phase of songwriting and contemporaneity.
  • transnational comparative approaches.

Submission details

Please send your abstract and a short biographical note by February 28, 2022 to: and

Abstracts should be between 300 and 400 words in length (in English). All submissions should include: 5 keywords, name of author(s), institutional affiliation, contacts details and a short bio for each author. Authors will be notified of proposal acceptance by March 10, 2022.

If the proposal is accepted, the author(s) will be asked to submit a full article of 5,000/6,000-words, in English or Italian, by May 29, 2022. English language contributions will be preferred for selection. Submission of a paper will be taken to imply that it is unpublished and is not being considered for publication elsewhere. Contributions will be submitted to a double-blind peer review process.

The issue number 3.2022 of Comunicazioni Sociali will be published in December 2022.