13 September 2013

Online articles to be featured in the Special Issue of Patterns of Prejudice

In December this year, Patterns of Prejudice will publish the double Special Issue on music and the Other which I have guest-edited. In its Latest Articles section, the journal has already published three of the articles to be featured in the Special Issue:

Lawrence P. MacCurtain, "Rhapsody in red: Shostakovich and American wartime perceptions of the Soviet Union"

MacCurtain addresses the role of Russian classical music in brokering popular American perceptions of the Soviet Union during the Second World War. With the launch of Operation Barbarossa on 22 June 1941, the United States entered into an unprecedented wartime alliance with the Soviet Union, a state that had long conjured up domestic American anxieties, and was only recognized by the FDR administration in 1933. Specifically, MacCurtain examines how the composition and transport of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7 to the United States in 1942 bolstered domestic commitment towards the wartime alliance with Stalin. By examining and comparing the critical and popular reception of Shostakovich's work in the United States, he found that the music possessed a populist appeal to the domestic audience that was seemingly capable of transcending the rhetoric and fear that previously defined the American image of the Soviet Union.

Catherine Baker, "Music as a weapon of ethnopolitical violence and conflict: processes of ethnic separation during and after the break-up of Yugoslavia"

Using illustrations from the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s and their aftermath, Baker argues that understanding popular music and public discourses about it can help to understand the dynamics of ethnopolitical conflict. Studies of war and conflict have approached music as political communication, as an object of securitization, as a means of violence and as a symbol of ethnic difference, while international law in the context of another case of collective violence, Rwanda, has even begun to question whether performing or broadcasting certain music could constitute incitement to genocide. Drawing on poststructuralist perspectives on the media and ethnicization in conflicts, Baker explores and interrogates the discourse of popular music as a weapon of war that was in use during and after the violent break-up of Yugoslavia. Music during the Yugoslav wars was used as a tool of humiliation and violence in prison camps, and to provoke fear of the ethnic Other in line with a strategy of ethnic cleansing; it was also conceptualized as a morale-booster for the troops of one's own side. A discourse of music as a weapon of war was also in use and persisted after the war, when its referent was shifted to associate music-as-a-weapon not to the brave and defiant ingroup so much as the aggressive Other. This was then turned against a wider range of signifiers than those who had directly supported the Other's troops and had the effect of perpetuating ethnic separation and obstructing the reformation of a (post-)Yugoslav cultural space. Despite evidence that music did serve as an instrument of violence in the Yugoslav wars (and the precedent of the Bikindi indictment in Rwanda), Baker concludes that music should be integrated into understandings of ethnopolitical conflict not through a framework of incitement and complicity but with respect for the significance of music in the everyday.

Ryan Shaffer, "The soundtrack of neo-fascism: youth and music in the National Front"

Shaffer examines youth involvement in the National Front and the development of neo-fascist music as a conduit for its ideas. Using rare publications and interviews with National Front members, he argues that youth had a profound impact on post-war British fascism by influencing fascist ideology and tactics. Following challenges from the Anti-Nazi League and Rock Against Racism, the National Front started its own youth outreach programmes that reshaped neo-fascism and how neo-fascists distributed their message. In adopting skinhead style and music, the organization spread ‘nativist’ culture not only to gain supporters, but to counter multiculturalism in popular music and politics. Shaffer's article explains how neo-fascist youth created their own publications, clubs, concerts and even a record company to provide entertainment, spread ideas, raise money, recruit and build associations with like-minded neo-fascists in other countries. With these new tactics, the young National Front members redefined British fascism, which had lasting impact on radical groups in Europe and North America.

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