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Att göra hiphop: En studie av musikpraktiker och sociala positioner
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies.
2019 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Making hip-hop : Musical practices and social positions (English)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation explores music-making processes within the genre of Swedish hip-hop during the first half of the 2010s. Hip-hop is often associated with strong notions about authenticity based both on musical tradition regarding style and aesthetics, as well as social categories such as race, gender, class and place. While hip-hop scholarship has often focused on analyzing social categories as part of identity politics, the practical music-making aspect has often been neglected. The aim of this dissertation is to analyze how hip-hop musicking has been constituted by the combination of musical practices, skills, social positions, and knowledge. The prerequisites of Swedish hip-hop music are analyzed, with a particular focus on the intersection between practical music-making and gender, race, ethnicity, generation and place.

The primary empirical material consists of qualitative interviews with and observations among club DJs, battle rappers, and hosts at battle rap events, as well as both the participants and the instructors at musical camps. Material from social media is also a part of the empirical material.

The musicological concept of musicking with its understanding of music as a collection of social processes is an important theoretical foundation for this study. Thinking in terms of musicking instead of music enabled me to broaden the scope of possible social settings where the fieldwork was conducted, as well as the choice of study participants. In order to define the practices, knowledges, skills, and positions specific to the hip-hop context, I introduced the concept of hip-hop musicking. The term “hip-hop musicking” signifies the conceptual marriage of practical music-making and the identity formations within processes of hip-hop music-making. I argue that the concept of musicking benefits from an intersectional perspective, as social positions enable and shape musical practice.

In the dissertation, the concept of an ideal–typical hip-hop position, inspired by Weber’s ideal type, is used to explore the processes behind music-making that are involved in hip-hop musicking. The ideal–typical individual is understood to be a young man racialized as non-white, is (often) angry, has a criminal record, and is from a vulnerable urban area in Stockholm. Throughout the empirical material, this hip-hop position appears in what is understood as the reproduction of stereotypical ideas of hip-hop music as a masculine and racialized coded sphere. However, it also appears in musicking where feminism is in focus.

The results of the dissertation show that ideas about this ideal–typical social position strongly affect who is given recognition for their dedication to hip-hop musicking. This is relevant, as ideas about authenticity are important both for the empirical field and for hip-hop scholarship. At times, the study’s participants criticized this position, but at other times, they reproduced it. I argue that the ideal–typical hip-hop position can be understood as something constant that is also involved in change processes. Therefore, development is ongoing in terms of what is considered hip-hop musicking, while aspects of the ideal–typical position are allowed to remain the same. A part of the goal of musicking includes fighting with the ideal–typical and the normative. This, in turn, reproduces power relations while simultaneously involving possibilities for change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Malmö: Universus Academic Press , 2019. , p. 205
Keywords [en]
Practice, knowledge, creativity, hip-hop, popular music, ethnography, authenticity, intersectionality, musicking
National Category
Ethnology
Research subject
Ethnology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-175592ISBN: 978-91-87439-59-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-175592DiVA, id: diva2:1368000
Public defence
2019-12-13, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-11-20 Created: 2019-11-05 Last updated: 2019-11-05Bibliographically approved

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