• Media type: E-Article
  • Title: Music and the materialization of identities
  • Contributor: Born, Georgina
  • Source: Journal of Material Culture ; 16 ( 2011 ) S. 376-388
  • Published: SAGE Publications, 2011
  • Language: English
  • DOI: 10.1177/1359183511424196
  • ISSN: 1359-1835; 1460-3586
  • Keywords: Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous) ; Archeology ; Anthropology
  • Abstract: <jats:p> How does music materialize identities? This article argues that music is instructive in conceptualizing the materialization of identity because it opens up new perspectives on issues of materiality, mediation and affect. These perspectives are intimately related in turn to music’s plural socialities, which necessitate a novel approach to theorizing the social. Music, it is proposed, demands an analytics that encompasses four planes of social mediation; while these socialities, with other forms of music’s mediation, together produce a constellation of mediations – an assemblage. All four planes of social mediation enter into the musical assemblage: the first two amount to socialities engendered by musical practice and experience; the last two amount to social and institutional conditions that afford certain kinds of musical practice. The four are irreducible to one another and are articulated in contingent ways through relations of synergy, affordance, conditioning or causality. By adopting the topological metaphor of the plane to stand for distinctive socialities mediated by music, the intention is to highlight both their autonomy and their mutual interference. The second half turns to genre theory to suggest that analysing genre in terms of the mutual mediation between two self-organizing historical entities illuminates both how social identity formations may be refracted in music, and how musical genres can entangle themselves in evolving social formations. Finally, with reference to music’s capacity to create aggregations of the affected, the article considers the efflorescence of theories of affect, association and entrainment. While such theories illuminate the generative nature of the mutual mediation between musical formations and social formations, they are limited by lack of awareness of the four distinctive planes of music’s social mediation, as well as the significance of their autonomy and their contingent interrelations for understanding how music materializes identities. </jats:p>
  • Description: <jats:p> How does music materialize identities? This article argues that music is instructive in conceptualizing the materialization of identity because it opens up new perspectives on issues of materiality, mediation and affect. These perspectives are intimately related in turn to music’s plural socialities, which necessitate a novel approach to theorizing the social. Music, it is proposed, demands an analytics that encompasses four planes of social mediation; while these socialities, with other forms of music’s mediation, together produce a constellation of mediations – an assemblage. All four planes of social mediation enter into the musical assemblage: the first two amount to socialities engendered by musical practice and experience; the last two amount to social and institutional conditions that afford certain kinds of musical practice. The four are irreducible to one another and are articulated in contingent ways through relations of synergy, affordance, conditioning or causality. By adopting the topological metaphor of the plane to stand for distinctive socialities mediated by music, the intention is to highlight both their autonomy and their mutual interference. The second half turns to genre theory to suggest that analysing genre in terms of the mutual mediation between two self-organizing historical entities illuminates both how social identity formations may be refracted in music, and how musical genres can entangle themselves in evolving social formations. Finally, with reference to music’s capacity to create aggregations of the affected, the article considers the efflorescence of theories of affect, association and entrainment. While such theories illuminate the generative nature of the mutual mediation between musical formations and social formations, they are limited by lack of awareness of the four distinctive planes of music’s social mediation, as well as the significance of their autonomy and their contingent interrelations for understanding how music materializes identities. </jats:p>