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Funkin' Cultural Boundaries: Popular Music and Socio-Spatial Change

In recent decades retheorised perspectives have transformed geographical studies of music. Human geographers have examined issues of music, place and identity in a range of empirical settings, theoretical frameworks and policy contexts. As a cultural sphere in which identities are created and challenged, music is a medium through which boundaries are established and transgressed, and in which difference is marked out and challenged. For marginalised or oppressed groups music provides a medium through which to create spaces to represent themselves and their aspirations. With contemporary cultural and economic processes having eroded senses of spatial distance, spaces of identity express complex fusions between the global and the local. Music is no longer integrally tied to specific ethnic groups; music results from numerous stylistic practices and transnational human musical interactions. The music of the hip hop group the Black Eyed Peas exemplifies the boundary-challenging aesthetic of hybrid music. Evidence collected through face-to-face interviews and participant observation highlights the ways in which the Black Eyed Peas employ their music to unsettle existing economic and social conditions. Discussion of how the Black Eyed Peas transgress economic barriers, challenge musical expectations, and expose the experiences of 'others' reveals the power relations that manifest in boundary creation and maintenance. Comments from members of the Black Eyed Peas and their associates expose the contradictions and compromises implicit in efforts to relocate social boundaries. Conflict between transgressive intentions is exhibited in the fundraising activities of the Peapod Foundation, a charitable organisation managed by the Black Eyed Peas.
Type of thesis
Timbs, D. (2007). Funkin’ Cultural Boundaries: Popular Music and Socio-Spatial Change (Thesis, Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/4361
The University of Waikato
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