Music Making Politics: Around the World in a Song

Franklin, M. I.. 2019. Music Making Politics: Around the World in a Song. In: Roland Grätz and Christian Höppner, eds. Musik öffnet Welten: Zur Gestaltung internationaler Kulturbeziehungen. Göttingen, Germany: Steidl. ISBN 9783958295261 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

In 2016, Bob Dylan, was awarded the 113th Nobel Prize for Literature, the first musician to receive this internationally prestigious award. Amidst debates about whether or not this decision erased the longstanding divide between ‘high’ art – classical art music and popular, commercially successful ‘low’ art – folk/pop music , Dylan’s media silence signalled a seeming indifference to the iconic status of this Nobel Prize. This scenario encapsulates some of the complexities of any discussion about the interplay between arts and culture (music in this case) and (world) politics today. This essay explores these relationships through an example of how a song travels through different, even competing musical cultures and political sensibilities. This example helps shed light on the uneven cultural geographies of musical meaning-making, within the commercial capriciousness of a global music industry that, nonetheless, cannot completely control the ways in which music travels. Nor can these economic sovereigns (the so-called Music Majors) completely dictate to whom broader cultures of musical practices ‘belong’, or how people respond as these practices circulate through diverse locations of entitlement and experience.

Item Type:

Book Section

Additional Information:

An abridged version of this essay appears in Music and International Relations, [Provisional title/German language] edited by Roland Grätz and Christian Höppner, Stuttgart: Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen / Deutscher Musikrat (German Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations/German Music Council), 2018 (in press)

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


September 2019Published

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Date Deposited:

11 Sep 2018 15:06

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:51


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