Special Issue no. 31
To Each Their Own Pop. Music, Cinema and Television in Europe in the Period of the Youth Movements (1960-1979)
Edited by Alessandro Bratus, Massimo Locatelli and Miguel Mera
Deadline for abstract proposal: January 31, 2018
The scope of this issue is to gather papers related to a decisive period in the development of audiovisual media in contemporary Europe: the 60’s and 70’s are linked with different patterns of economic growth and consumption across different countries, but nevertheless related to the diffusion of television and the new technologies in the record industry, from both the point of view of production and reproduction. Such changes determined the emergence of new forms of expression, media aggregation and consumption behaviors with respect to the past.
On the aesthetic front, the period witnessed the pluralisation of popular culture as it became increasingly segmented in complex ways according to factors such as age, genre and social status, a phenomenon which led to a broadening of the horizons, places and use of cultural products. This is the period that marked the advent of a particularly complex relationship between pop, the popular and processes of generification, a relationship which impacted significantly also on the overall organisation of the media system as a whole.
In terms of social aggregation, the identification of communities, especially among the young, became based increasingly on participation in public events (whether political or cultural) which served as concrete manifestations of the tension towards lifestyles and needs which moved increasingly away from traditional cultural affiliations towards a broader, more transnational context. The more overtly political dimensions of the media output of the period came into play, with particular emphasis on the modes of popularisation of the countercultural and avant-garde trends typical of the era, foreshadowing their entering the cultural mainstream.
On the level of production and consumption of media technologies, the importance of such phenomena became the starting point for media narratives that found fruition in genres such as the live recording and the concert film; at the same time, the production of music specifically designed for other media became an established reality, with the introduction to the market of specific products dedicated to film music or with close links to television and radio broadcasts. In this sense there is a need for a more systematic approach to the historical and theoretical framework which sets out, in particular, from questions relating to the sound artefact and its social-technological dimension, the transformation of the soundscape, the change in the status of musicians, and media performance.
The special issue aims at being particularly open to comparative contributions which highlight both the specific characteristics of the national contexts and the features that we might call the “mediatisation” of contemporary culture. We wish to draw out and explore some of the tensions between notions of the underground and mainstream, and the local, national, and international.
The essays can be focused on four specific points of intersection, with the aim of responding in full to the four main research objectives of the issue:
- first and foremost, research into the industrial relationships between the various different sectors of national and international media production in those years, through the cataloguing and close examination of contractual conditions and, more generally, of the different formats used and of the sales, distribution and marketing strategies employed. In this area, the role of the song, the disc and the singers will probably prove pivotal, as the key to the trend towards the process of convergence on a single, easily recognisable product to be promoted in parallel in the various distribution channels of the audiovisual market;
- secondly, there would seem to be a need to reconstruct the contribution and the professional expertise of the authors and technicians who worked in the various sectors – directors who were active in both cinema and television, composers who contributed to the diversification of the forms, as well as technicians and sound mixers – so as to shed new light on them and on their activities and to reconstruct the network of reciprocal relationships between them;
- thirdly, on the basis of the above, it will be possible to renew and update the study and analysis of the audiovisual production of the period, reconstructing the intricate network of genres and authorial paths so as to reach an understanding of the configuration of styles that mark the period concerned. The same logic applies to the presence of parallel circuits of production, distribution and reception in the music and audiovisual fields, with phenomena such as singer-songwriters, groups and mainstream production acting as a counterpart to the production of songwriters, whether popular or in different genres;
- lastly, it will be possible to work in the light of the information that has emerged in the recent inter-disciplinary debate surrounding the detailed, chronological redefinition of the relationship between the production chain of the audiovisual media industry and the music business. The field of music production may be understood as the first step in the modernisation of the national community, which finds one of its constitutive features not only in the mediatisation of cultural products (the possibility to reproduce both texts and performance) and in the new model of artistic collaboration that emerged (the group as a collective, creative entity), but also – and above all – in the new type of audience experience that was made possible through the development of new environments for sound and, more generally, for other media.
Contributors are asked to submit an abstract (300-500 words, 5 keywords, and 5 bibliographical references) and a short biographical note (150 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org AND email@example.com by January 31, 2018.
All notifications of acceptance will be sent no later than February 15, 2018. After the notice of acceptance, 4,000-word essays will then be required by May 30, 2018, then they will be subjected to peer review.