Monday, July 03, 2006


The International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) is pleased to announce its 14th biennial conference:

¡Que viva la musica popular!

Universidad Iberoamericana
Mexico City, Mexico
June 25-29, 2007

Popular music remains at the heart of everyday life in many different ways. Its ability to organise, reassure, provoke, contain or anaesthetise attests to its influence within social life. The organisers of the 14th biennial IASPM in Mexico City invite papers that provide theoretically grounded accounts of popular music’s role as a soundtrack to individual, collective, local, national and international experience. This includes examination of the significant changes in popular music consumption, with, for example, the emergence of the mobile phone and TV talent show franchises as key links between contemporary youth audiences and performers. Equally, in the age of the ‘mash-up’, innovation in digital technologies (for example, Pro Tools and Acid Pro software) continues to challenge prior modes of production and viability for producers in an era of industry/company integration. While these are important issues for debate, this conference also emphasises effect and affectivity: the astonishing ways in which popular music moves us to different forms of expression and feeling.

The location of this conference is timely, given the rapid change in cultural trade flows and agreements between nations, where popular music plays a major role in debates about cultural sovereignty, and the feverish rhetoric surrounding the ‘cultural’/’creative’ industries. At the same time, popular music continues to be appropriated for specific political ends, representing particular ideologies, and in some cases, whole nations.

As has always been the case, conference organisers welcome papers that shed light on specific, local experiences and debates, along with wider issues of transnational importance. In keeping with the increasingly broad scope of popular music studies, the conference welcomes papers based on any disciplinary approach, including musicology, semiotics, philosophical/cognitive studies, anthropology, gender and cultural studies, sociology, literary criticism, etc.

Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words, and should include the following:

Paper Title
Surname, First Name
Email Address
Intended Stream

When attaching abstracts, please send as both an .rtf and .doc. Please use your surname as the file name, eg: smith.rtf, jones.doc.

The conference organizers would ask that you provide three to five keywords in order to help facilitate the organization of the schedule.

Abstracts should be sent to the following address:, and should be received no later than November 15, 2006. Presenters will be notified by February 1, regarding acceptance.

The streams for this year’s conference as follows:

1. Songs of desire

Convenor: Franco Fabbri

Feelings, emotions, passion are at the same time the subject of many popular songs (content), the factors that influence how subjects are articulated (expression), the shared competence within a genre or across genres (code). Affect in popular music is coded/decoded by the mind, interpreted by the body, predominantly mediated by the voice. This stream welcomes papers based on any disciplinary approach (musicology, semiotics, philosophical/cognitive studies, anthropology, gender and cultural studies, sociology, literary criticism, etc.) approaching song (individual songs, genres, idiolects) as the meeting point of thought and feelings, the body, the human voice, for any purpose and project.

2. Performance

Convenor: Shane Homan

Musical performance remains one of the central rituals and pleasures of popular music. This stream invites consideration of understandings of performance within a range of cultures and contexts, including the re-evaluation of ‘classic’ performances on the stage or screen that continue to inform contemporary practices and histories; debates about repetition and improvisation; or performance within multimedia environments, and the implications for the presentation and reception of the musical text in relation to particular discourses of authenticity. We welcome papers on the cover, tribute, or interpretation that investigates performing the ‘original’, or contributions to debates about stage virtuosity, including understandings of musical skills, training and creativity. Discussions can extend to how famous musicians ‘perform’ their celebrity roles in a variety of industry and media contexts; or how audiences ‘perform’ subcultures or fandom roles; or take on the role of ‘performer’ themselves.

3. Technology & industry

Convenor: Martha Tupinambá de Ulhôa

The use of the phonogram, the disc, the tape, and now the computer archive has changed enormously the way people produce and listen to music. Music technology has even blurred the distinction between the spheres of music production and consumption, as well as the notions of authorship and performance. Also the music industry has had to adapt to new ways of consumption that bypass its control, as the debate on copyright and the release of "historical" performances transfers is showing. This stream welcomes papers dealing with the technological impact on popular music practices, including studio, live and even private popular music production and consumption questions from cultural, aesthetic, ideological, economic, sociological, historical, legal or musicological perspectives.

4. Nation, Region, City

Convenor: Michael Drewett

This stream is concerned with popular music meanings which are specifically located within the context of space and place, whether on the local, national, global or glocal level, including the role of music in urban and suburban structures, in the construction of national identities and policies and in place-related practices of domination and resistance, such as post-colonial struggle. Papers that place particular emphasis upon the spatial dynamics of popular music are welcomed.

5. Popular and Unpopular Musics

Convenor: Geoff Stahl

The notion of ‘the popular’ can be cast in multiple ways. The meaning and uses to which ‘the popular’ is put means different things with regard to taste, musicians, the industry, governments, etc. The notion of what constitutes popularity and what that popularity may mean is fraught and contested in a number of fields, whereby the production, distribution and consumption of music can become the locus of many different kinds of struggles. This stream is designed to take up many of these issues, considering the different resonances of ‘the popular’ (and by inference its so-called opposite, ‘the unpopular’).

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