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IMR Distinguished Lecture Series 2017

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Senate Room, Senate House

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Martin Stokes, ‘The Musical Citizen’: IMR Distinguished Lecture Series

The 2017 Institute of Musical Research Distinguished Lecture Series will be delivered by Martin Stokes, King Edward Professor of Music at King’s College London.


The series will be entitled ‘The Musical Citizen,’ and the lectures will take place on Thursdays 4th, 11th and 25th of May at 5.30pm in the Senate Room at Senate House, University of London.

May 4: ‘How Musical is the Citizen?’

Theresa May’s assertion that “if you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere” has put recent critical thinking and the language of today’s populism on a collision course. Questions about critical citizenship have been moving to the fore of discussions in the humanities and social sciences over the last thirty years. Populism’s efforts to anchor citizenship narratives to the nation-state must reckon with ‘flexible’ (Ong 1999) or ‘differentiated’ (Young 1986) citizenship, which has tended to see citizenship as plural, performative and decentered practices of rights-claiming, mutually defining ‘the political’, its subjects and its others on a variety of scales. It must also reckon with critiques of citizenship in totalitarian or neoliberal governmentality, critiques deriving from Foucault, Agamben, and Arendt - pressing today in proliferating states of emergency and exception and the growing ranks of non- (and post-) citizens. How to configure these debates now? And what place does music have in them? Music, I will argue, has for a long time been entangled with debates about citizenship and citizenly identities. The first lecture will concentrate on three topics that have focused recent discussions, exploring the strengths and limitations of such approaches. Firstly, ‘cultural citizenship’, and the politics of difference (race, identity, sexuality). Secondly, the fashioning of musical citizenship in NGOs, development projects and cultural policy. Thirdly, ‘intimate citizenship’ and the musical citizen in fields of public affect and emotion.

May 11: ‘Citizens of the Night’

Nightlife has been a preoccupation of a number of political movements intent on reclaiming the 'right to the city' (Harvey 2013), from corporate capitalism, from suburbanization, from the ghettoization of migrants, from the marginalization of queer culture. In the meantime, conservative newspapers bemoan the loss of British cities’ vibrant clubbing culture, and urban planning increasingly values and preserves it as ‘heritage’. The appointment of Amy Lamé as Sadiq Khan’s London ‘Night Tsar’ last year indicates the new direction of travel. The job of nightlife, and with it the ‘provision of 24 hour culture’, is to keep cities open for business and bind commerce and leisure to new kinds of citizenship narratives – cosmopolitan, urbane, inclusive. What are the stakes of these kinds of efforts to ‘conquer the night’ (Kafadar), and what do they mean for the relationship between citizenship and today’s global city? For today’s practices of ‘insurgent citizenship’ (Holston 1999)? For social movements challenging the privatization and corporate takeover of the city’s public spaces? Who are marginalized or excluded by this new language of civic inclusiveness and cosmopolitanism? Who and what are considered to be the threats? In many cultures and historical periods, music and musicians have been specifically tasked with conquering the night, with bringing people together ‘out of hours’ to forge new solidarities and identities. What do we learn from this? What light do they shed on the broader history, and prospects, of social movements asserting ‘rights to the city’?

May 25: ‘The Citizen in the Crowd’

Social theory has long been preoccupied with the distinctions to be drawn between ‘crowds’ and ‘publics’, between ‘the mob’, ‘the masses’ and ‘the citizenry’. Music – and its audiences – has directly contributed to the making of such distinctions (Busch 2008). But it has also troubled them. The significance of sound in discussions of crowds, assemblies and multitudes, from Rousseau to Durkheim and Canetti to today's crowd theory suggests some ways of approaching the question of why this might be the case. The question bears on Isin’s well-known critique (Isin 2007) of the normative scaling of citizenship narratives, whereby national citizenship is conventionally understood to incorporate local, urban and provincial citizenship, and to gesture beyond. Urban and local scalings of citizenship are now often conceived in opposition to those of nation-state, for instance. And on Mazarella's observation that crowds are the "dark matter that pull on the liberal subject from its past, whereas multitudes occupy the emergent horizon of a postliberal politics" (Mazarella 2010). How are we to understand the soundscapes of today’s urban crowd – political, recreational, memorial? How are we to understand their relationship to the nation-state? To global social movements? To changing conceptions of the public sphere and the liberal subject? To a resurgent populism, communitarianism and localism? What kinds of performance of citizenship do they constitute, or embody? What new kinds of citizenship narrative are taking shape within them?


Prior to each lecture, from 2-5pm, there will be a seminar on a related topic, which will include presentations from a variety of speakers and an open debate:

May 4: Music, migration, and citizenship

May 11: Public music studies and citizenship

May 25: Theorising music and citizenship

Please see separate Eventbrite page for booking: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/imr-distinguished-lecture-series-2017-research-seminars-tickets-31962767498

Early booking is advised, as space is limited.

The series is supported by Nick Baker and presented in association with the School of Advanced Study, University of London.

Queries may be sent to imr@rhul.ac.uk.

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WC1E

United Kingdom

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