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    Fragile Empowerment: The Dynamic Cultural Economy of British Drum and Bass Music

    Fraser, Alistair and Ettlinger, Nancy (2008) Fragile Empowerment: The Dynamic Cultural Economy of British Drum and Bass Music. Geoforum, 39 (5). pp. 1647-1656. ISSN 0016-7185

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    This paper discusses the dynamic cultural economy of British drum and bass (D&B) music, which emerged out of Britain’s rave culture in the early 1990s. We suggest that D&B offers insight into more general issues regarding the relation between alternative cultural economies and capitalism. We examine relations between D&B and the mainstream capitalist economy and argue that D&B calls attention to the possibility for alternatives to conventional capitalist relations to survive and possibly thrive without pursuing separation from capitalism. We also theorize D&B as a vehicle towards empowerment regarding the industry segment vis-à-vis the mainstream music industry and also regarding D&B’s practitioners, many of whom can be understood as marginalized discursively and/or materially. However, D&B empowerment is fragile, due in part to technological changes that threaten practices which have helped cultivate innovativeness as well as communal relations. The empowerment of alternative practices is fragile not only for D&B as an industry segment, but also from the vantage point of internal power relations – notably with respect to differences along axes of gender and generation/age. Our conclusions indicate the broader significance of the paper for critical social theory and propose how new research might build on our dynamic view of D&B’s cultural economy.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Cultural economy; empowerment; subjection; alternative economic spaces; music industries; drum and bass music; Britain;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
    Item ID: 6165
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Alistair Fraser
    Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2015 13:08
    Journal or Publication Title: Geoforum
    Publisher: Elsevier
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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