Music and the city: normalisation, marginalisation, and resistance in Birmingham’s musicscape

Roberts, Darren (2015). Music and the city: normalisation, marginalisation, and resistance in Birmingham’s musicscape. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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Drawing on qualitative research conducted in Birmingham (2009-2014), this thesis explores the role music plays in shaping and producing the urban environment via a focus on three specific processes; normalisation, marginalisation, and resistance. The contemporary city’s relationship with music has undergone substantial change in recent years within the UK, including significant growth in the live music industry and the increased targeting of musical activities within urban policy. The thesis examines the implications of these changes in the context of Birmingham.
Chapter One introduces the research aims and objectives. Chapter Two positions the thesis within the current geographies of music field and grounds the thesis in an anti-essentialist approach to geography and cultural politics. Chapter Three provides an overview of the research location and methodology. Chapter Four explores ‘normalisation’ by examining the role of public bodies in shaping local musical activities. Chapter Five explores ‘marginalisation’ by examining the exclusion of local rap music from the mainstream live musicscape, and rap music’s place in shaping marginal geographies. Chapter Six explores ‘resistance’ through three in-depth examples of how different individuals use music as a tool of resistance against dominant power relations and the production of uneven urban geographies.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
M Music and Books on Music > M Music


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