Some information about me
Most of my work is on media and popular music. But whatever the particular field of study, I’ve tended to explore one or more of these overlapping themes over the last few years.
First, I'm interested in authorship and the way that it impacts on cultural expression. My book, Making Popular Music (2000), deals with these issues. In it I argue for the prevalence of ‘social authorship', whereby music makers are creative agents, yet are also enmeshed in social networks of collaboration, competition and economic exploitation. This analysis bears on the issue of copyright. In its economic function of specifying the cultural commodity, copyright law installs a regime of enforced originality and individualism which often runs counter to creative practice. I’m writing a book for Polity – Copyright and Culture – which deals with this problem quite extensively.
Second, I am interested in culture, race and ethnicity. My book on Bob Marley (2007) has a strong focus on this issue. The book weighs Marley’s impact as proto-political leader and advocate of human emancipation against his marginalisation as a racialised ‘Natural Mystic'. I’ve also been a co-investigator on the AHRC funded project Tuning In Diasporic Contact Zones at BBC World Service (ends December 2009), and leader of its ‘Migrating Music’ strand. This is an international, collaborative inquiry into the socio-cultural implications of music and diaspora across the world. I co-organised a conference on that topic with Byron Dueck (OU, Music) in July 2009 and we are now preparing a book proposal from it. Currently, I’m leading the AHRC Beyond Text large grant funded project (also affiliated to CRESC), What Is Black British Jazz: Routes, Ownership, Performance. The interdisciplinary team is based at the Open University: http://www.open.ac.uk/researchprojects/blackbritishjazz/
Lastly, I’ve been thinking about social theory, in particular critical realism, and wondering how it might illuminate our understanding of media and culture. David Hesmondhalgh (Leeds University) and I organised the 2006 CRESC conference on this theme. And we co-edited a book based on the conference, The Media and Social Theory (Routledge, 2007). What’s come out of this for me is a sense that media and cultural analysis might benefit from attending to some themes that have been central to the long tradition of social theory, especially problems of causality, normativity and ontology.
Refereed Journal Papers
Reframing the Nation
This project reflects on the organisation and practices of work in the cultural and creative industries. In line with CRESC thinking it asks; what patterns of continuity and change...
Thu, May 17th 2012 - Fri, May 18th 2012
How does music relate to the social? Substantively? And methodologically? This workshop will explore how music matters to people - and innovative research methods for thinking about this. Please subscribe early: numbers are limited.