Michael G. Esch | Chercheur associé
Sciences de la culture
Music, "Underground" and Sociocultural Change During the Cold War
Jazz, Beat and Rock have from the 1940s until the 1970s not just been globalised commodities. They constituted musical and non-musical practices that challenged rules and pushed the limits of what could be played and expressed. They were projection screens for rebellious sub- and youth cultures and for moral panics; as such, they were the soundtrack and an agency of global cultural change. But why could they be all this not only at their places of origin, but in a locally and regionally specific reception, signification and recreation that crossed cultural and ideological borders? How did musical practice relate to its appropriation through music-related subcultures and cultural avant-gardes in the context of the Cold War? The project examines what actors contributed in which manner to the development and signification of the music and to the definition of »authenticity«, its manufacturing, commodification and canonisation. It shows that these processes were always transnational and often ambivalent. It asks how the transnational appropriation and the integration of external (local, global) musical elements related to the renewal and authentication of these musical dialects and how these renewals interacted with musical cultures and subcultures in the global south. By this means, it aims at a deeper understanding of the preconditions, reasons and forms of an attractiveness and efficiency of musical and subcultural styles that not only crossed national borders, but even the ideological, sociocultural and political divides between West and East, North and South.