From Studies of Protest Music to Protest Music Studies: Mapping a Field That Doesn’t (Yet) Exist
Abstract: This article reviews recent literature on music, protest, and social movements. Its principal focus is on English-language research being conducted in North America and the United Kingdom, dispersed across such disciplines as music studies, social movement studies, anthropology, political science, sociology, and area studies, among others. Four recent trends are highlighted: work that stresses the importance of affect to music’s political efficacy; studies addressing the soundscapes of protest events, including the tactical use of noise and silence by activists; research on media ecosystems, with a particular emphasis on online and social media’s impact on protest movements; and work that throws into relief the contradictory and ambivalent effects of protest musicking. By drawing attention to these areas of common concern, the article aims to foster dialogue among scholars working in different disciplinary spaces, as a way of mapping the terrain where a future protest music studies might take root and flourish.
How to cite this article: Drott, Eric. 2023. “From Studies of Protest Music to Protest Music Studies: Mapping a Field That Doesn’t (Yet) Exist” Music Research Annual 4: 1–23. https://doi.org/10.48336/DTS4-5A94
About the author: Eric Drott is Associate Professor of Music Theory at the University of Texas at Austin. He is author of Music and the Elusive Revolution: Cultural Politics and Political Culture in France, 1968–1981. His second book, Streaming Music, Streaming Capital, is to be published in early 2024. His current projects include The Oxford Handbook of Protest Music, co-edited with Noriko Manabe. In 2021, he received the Dent Medal from the Royal Musical Association.