(Åbo Akademi, Department of Musicology, Finland)
Sport Music – Context vs. Content
In this paper I study relationships between recorded music and certain sports. I am interested in how music is chosen for (home) games and how the connection to the sport is constructed. This paper is work in progress for my doctoral thesis on music in our everyday life. In my research I focus on music in sport events and conduct fieldwork in collaboration with a few male teams in pesäpallo (“Finnish baseball”), soccer, ice hockey, floorball, basketball and volleyball. These team sports, in a Finnish context, form the empirical base for my thesis. Ken McLeod (2006/2011) uses the definition “sport rock anthems” to describe rock songs which have achieved a hymnlike status through repeated play at sport events. This musical material, influenced by, for example, movies and video games, is also used in several different sports in Finland but some sports or teams have their own musical identity. The most apparent example is basket/hip-hop, but there are also interesting connections between Finnish music (iskelmä and suomi-pop genre) and the Finnish national sport pesäpallo. My case in ice hockey has radically changed their profile from stereotypically masculine rock music to pop music “more suitable for the whole family” (including women and children). Many teams also use old “classics” as nostalgia and to emphasize local identity.
(University of Turku, Department of General History, Finland)
A Transatlantic Alien: The British-American Interactions in the Science Fiction Films of the 1950s
This paper deals with the interactions between American and European science fiction films of the 1950s. I approach this dynamic interplay by examining the aesthetics and production of several American and British science fiction films. Firstly, I analyze how science fiction was established as a film genre in the 1950s Hollywood and how European film tradition influenced the formation of the new genre. Secondly, I look at the ways in which American film studios co-operated with European (especially British) film companies. Some science fiction films, such as Invaders from Mars (William Cameron Menzies, USA 1953), were re-edited for their European release. Many American science fiction films were actually shot and produced in the UK with a British cast, even though their distribution was handled by American film studios.
Furthermore, British science fiction films drew influence from successful Hollywood films, many of which dealt with the theme of alien invasion. One of the most intriguing examples is the British b-budget movie Stranger from Venus (Burt Balaban, UK 1954), which was derived from The Day the Earth Stood Still (Robert Wise, USA 1951). In both films, a benign alien comes to Earth to warn mankind about the dangers of the arms race and nuclear warfare. In Wise’s film, the role of the space visitor Klaatu was given to a little-known English stage actor Michael Rennie, mainly because 20th Century Fox figured that a renowned Hollywood star, such as Spencer Tracy, would not have been “alien” enough to American audience. In Balaban’s film, however, the lead female role was played by the American actress Patricia Neal, because she had already co-starred in Wise’s film. In my presentation, I argue that both films can be interpreted as an implicit critique of Cold War hysteria.
(Western Connecticut State University, USA)
Monstrous Morgana: Arthurian Women as Unnatural Amazons in Madame Xanadu (2008-2010)
This article analyzes the portrayal of Morgan Le Fay in the comic book Madame Xanadu within the context of earlier comic books and of medieval literature. I argue that Morgan Le Fay is steadily becoming more monstrous by looking at other popular comic titles such as Dracula v. King Arthur and Camelot 3000 among others. Morgan Le Fay has traditionally been an easy target for literary misogyny as she is often associated with both sexual agency and a lust for power. In Madame Xanadu, the author and artists have imbued Morgan with these traits and then drawn her as a violent power-hungry Amazon warrior, the ultimate sexually deviant virago in the medieval and modern imagination. Morgan’s image contrasts sharply with that of the main hero, Madame Xanadu (aka Nimue), Morgan Le Fay’s sister, who is demure and “natural” and submits to the power of men. This book offers contrasting dichotomies of womanhood that clearly envision Morgana as the unnatural, destructive and monstrous Evian woman whose bid for agency, sexual autonomy and power consistently meets with punishment and reprimand by her more Marian sister. Her contrapuntal role allows writers and readers to define that which is normal, right and good through their understanding that Morgan is inherently abnormal, wrong and bad. Thus this comic stereotypes medieval women as being either an Eve or a Mary and uses the popular image of the Amazon to stress how monstrous and unnatural Morgan Le Fay and all women like her can be and to justify their being defeated and destroyed in the end.
(University of Amsterdam, Departments of Music and Media Studies, Netherlands)
‘You and You and Gareth Pugh’: Metrosexuality and Masculinity in Post-Soviet Popular Music
In the decades following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, representations and constructions of gender, sex, and sexuality emerged in Post-Soviet space not only as often performatively enacted interrogations and negotiations of newly configured conceptions of corporeal autonomy and subjectivity, but also as highly potent symbolic and discursive formations through which the “social body” (comprising individual corporealities and subjectivities) could be understood as enmeshed with, resistant to, and/or defined against an increased and often destabilizing contact with the West. Here, of course, encroachment was experienced by many as not only (or even) spatial, but also (or primarily) as socio-cultural, discourses, structures, and dynamics of capitalism indissolubly linked to those of modernity and cosmopolitanism. With attention to several current post-Soviet artists including Kazaky and Kamon (Ukraine) and Kukla (Russia), in this paper I will examine how contemporary urban representations of masculinity are negotiated via musical, visual, and textual elements, and how they both reference physical, social space, and become manifest in and on the material human body.
(University of Sussex, UK)
Reappraising the Male Gaze: How Men Position Themselves as Viewers of Sexualised Music Videos
In a qualitative study of 30 men, Beyonce’s ‘All the Single Ladies’ (2008) music video was shown and the men’s reactions were analysed to see how they positioned themselves in discourses around female beauty, sexuality and heteronormative relationships. It was found that rather than experience a straightforward ‘sated consumer’ position as feminist film theory suggests, the men responded from multiple positionings, often perceiving themselves to be secondary recipients of the video, after women. They also often felt manipulated rather than ‘serviced’ by images of sexualised women.
(London College of Fashion, University of the Arts, UK)
Building a Biography of Black Leather in British Motorcycle Subcultures 1945-1965
Black leather and motorcycles often feature in discourse on rebellion and delinquency in the latter half of the twentieth century, with garments acquiring unique status as signifiers of danger and moral threat. Academic work has either focused on US motorcycle cultures or the cultural legacy of Mods & Rockers as translated through Punk culture, without fully considering the influences of earlier recreational and racing motorcycle practices on British subcultural identity.
This paper will investigate the influence of racing on British motorcycle subcultural fashions of the 1950s and 1960s to contribute to a wider study of subcultural participants. It will explore the operation of the machines, associated garments and the emulation of successful sport riders by young British motorcyclists, drawing upon representations in film, period garment advertising and internal texts such as the British publications The Motor Cycle and MotorCycling, and Link, the 59 Club’s member magazine. It will consider the relationship between the mobility practice, celebrity and identity as a foundation for subsequent interviews with former subcultural participants.
(Newcastle University, UK)
An Early Male Gaze: Voyeurism and Spectatorship in the Erotic Films of Johann Schwarzer
During the last twenty-five years or so, film scholars concerned with early cinema and its audiences have established that the set of experiences, competencies and expectations of turn-of-the-century spectators was quite different from today. While this view is certainly justifiable, there has been a lack of investigation surrounding the issue of gender in relation to the gaze of early cinema audiences. In this paper, I intend to break with this ‘tradition’ of discussing the early spectator free of any concern regarding his/her gender. Considering two films of Johan Schwarzer, Austrian pioneer producer of adult films, the aim of this paper is both to avoid as well as to challenge such generalisations through analysing not only aspects of the films themselves, such as the male voyeurs within the films acting as role models for the primarily male spectators outside the film, but also through highlighting Schwarzer’s strategies of marketing the erotic material as ‘gentlemen films.’ Ultimately, this paper will demonstrate that right from the start cinema taught its spectators gendered ways of looking.
(University of Minnesota, Department of German, Scandinavian and Dutch, USA)
Bodies Resist Manipulation: Contemporary Jewish Performance Art
My talk discusses contemporary approaches to Jewish European identity by the artists Esther Dischereit, Yael Bartana and Roee Rosen. Their work provokes the ways in which history has been mythologized and it tenaciously resists musealization of actively lived Jewish lives. With her installation-performance-project Before the High Holy Days the House was Full of Whisperings and Rustlings (2008-2011), Esther Dischereit, an internationally noted German-Jewish writer, counteracts the rites of memorization and mourning, and encourages forms of expression that can enter public spaces while at the same time inherit a German-Jewish perspective. Yael Bartana, an acclaimed Israeli video artist, who represented Poland at the 2011 Venice Biennale, critically investigates public ceremonies and rituals and their reinsuring function for national identities. In her recent Polish Trilogy …and Europe will be stunned as well as with the Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland (2008-2012), Bartana challenges contemporary understandings of identity, ethnic conflicts, rights of return, settlement, war, and functionalization of the Shoah. Roee Rosen, Israeli-American writer and filmmaker who won the Orizzonti award for best medium-length film at the Venice Film Festival, questions the origin and the meaning of identity (theories) with projects like The Confessions of Roee Rosen (2008) and Out (Tse, 2010). Similarly to Dischereit and Bartana, Rosen critiques representation of history, political economy of memory, and questions the politics of identity.
In the works of these three artists, who explore and investigate ceremonies, politics, public rituals and social diversions, and the intention to reaffirm collective identities of nations, the body emerges as the symbolic space of encounter of governmental, social and individual interests. My talk presents and discusses the surprising interconnectivity in the art work of Dischereit, Bartana, and Rosen, for whom performance, body art, and politics intersect and who emphasize the physical bodies’ option to resist disciplining strategies and their political implications.
(University of York, UK)
‘For You Are a Man and She Is a Maid’: Performing Gender Difference in Orientalist Medieval and Modern Popular Romance Fiction
Western popular culture has long engaged with the otherness of the Orient. In the first decade of the twenty-first century, a period of renewed conflict between certain countries in the east and west, popular culture has been particularly concerned with the fantasy and reality of the Orient, presenting it as locus of religious, racial, cultural, social and political difference. Such a concern is particularly evident in one consistently popular genre: the sheikh romance. The so-called sheikh romance is a love story set in the deserts of North Africa or the Middle East, featuring an erotic relationship between a western heroine and an eastern sheikh or sultan hero. However, the twenty-first century is not the only period in which western popular literature has imagined an erotic relationship between east and west. Middle English romance, one of the most widely consumed secular genres in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century England, similarly figures cross-cultural relationships occurring between Saracens and Christians, this time occurring against a background of conflict with the echo of the Crusades.
This paper focuses on a particular aspect of difference which is often overlooked in studies of Orientalist popular romance: gender. I examine, in particular, the figure of the Oriental male, a product of a space of ‘feminine penetrability’; according to Said (1978/2003), the East is a passive, feminine space into which active, masculine, imperial power penetrates. This view of the east is persuasive and persistent, yet, it has been argued that Mills & Boon sheikh romances challenge the idea of an effeminate east by creating a hypermasculine sheikh hero, ‘destabilising’, as Bach (1997) contends, ‘perceptions of the Orient as the west’s feminised other’. Taylor (2007) posits: ‘the Orient in the sheikh romances is a masculine Orient’.
The paper will explore the effect of such a ‘masculine Orient’, and the ways in which the sheikh hero’s own hypermasculine heterosexual gender identity is inextricably, yet occasionally anxiously, bound up with his eastern surroundings. In order to draw out fully how the east impacts upon a hypermasculine male identity, I then turn to the Middle English romance Floris and Blancheflur, the story of a relationship between a Saracen man, Floris, and a Christian woman, Blancheflur, which demonstrates two contrasting models of eastern masculinity. Examining how these masculinities are constructed in and by the romance east, I draw on Butler’s theory of gender performativity to explore the effect of deviant gender performance on binary heterosexual gender relations. The paper concludes by drawing attention to the similarities between gender performance in medieval and modern romance, arguing how such strategies are deeply rooted in western European understandings of gender and difference.
(University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)
The Aesthetic Desire for Romantic Experiences
Having a romantic dinner or going on a romantic trip are both leisure activities that help constitute the practice of romance in our present-day consumer society. Although these activities have been researched and attributed with such significance (most notably by sociologist Eva Illouz), the extent to which our desire to experience them is an aesthetic desire to be part of a narrative has not been sufficiently considered. Both these activities have to have certain qualities in order to be experienced as truly romantic. I would like to argue that these qualities are strongly based on (a desire for) the aesthetics of fiction.
In my survey of this aesthetic desire, I will explore representations of romantic dinners and travel in contemporary European cinema and advertising. Since there is no trope defining instant that constitutes our notion of such a romantic atmosphere – it is an abstract idea based on a plurality of representations – I will explore the common denominators in the depiction of romantic leisure activities that occur throughout popular fiction, self-help websites and advertising. In order to conceptualise the aesthetic desire to experience romance, I will use a 19th century embodiment of the romance reader as an analytical tool in my approach of the commodification of romantic atmosphere in popular culture today.
By exploring their narrative nature, this paper will show how the atmospheric character of depictions of romance work as an incentive for our aesthetic desire to be part of a narrative. I will argue that the element that makes a dinner or trip romantic is nothing less than the narrative aesthetics that are at play. By exploring these aesthetics, this paper sheds new light on our romantic practices and considers a possible force behind them.
(Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy)
George Harrison Borrowing Spiritualities: There’s No Such Thing as European Spirituality
When, while shooting the movie Help!, George Harrison saw a sitar, it was love at first sight. Indian music was a big influence for the Beatles, and helped the spread of Indian philosophy and spirituality through the Western world, especially into counter-culture. After that, Indian music and Indian timbres were associated with spirituality: every time a sitar or a tamboura are heard, everyone thinks of meditation or Hinduism. And, more than that, it helped the idea that there is no such thing as Western – namely European: this doesn’t count for native Americans – spirituality (later on, other famous European singers-songwriters-musicians, like David Sylvian, and they were firmly associated to other Eastern religions like Buddhism): church organs recall Christianity, but they are usually associated to masses, celebrations, “institutions”, not to a pure, direct relationship with God.
Then the Beatles split, and Harrison stopped playing sitar. But his love for Indian music and spirituality was too strong, and the bond between them and music in Indian culture are too important to be forgotten, so if he wanted to be a musician, his music had to be “spiritual”, to a certain extent. How to make a guitar sound like a “spiritual” instrument, like a sitar, without imitating the sitar? The answer came subtly, via the Hawaiian slide guitar, which helped Harrison develop a style capable of reaching those bends and slides that only a sitar can get.
This paper will analyze for the first time ever the influences of Indian music on Harrison’s later guitar style, and put it into a context of mediated spirituality: it doesn’t matter how much (or if…) a music is spiritual, if it sounds Eastern, then it is. This is another cultural, sometimes deceptive, cliché.
(Anadolu University, Department of Journalism, Turkey)
Popular Culture and Historical Comic Books: The Example of Kara Orkun (Black Orkun)
With the commencement of its presentation in mass media, popular culture has started to embody violence elements ever since it was detached from folklore and particularly following industrial revolution. Violence element, the first examples of which are police newspapers, has begun to take place at the centre of popular culture especially since the 19th century. However, it is seen that Turkey goes through this phase in the 20th century. The study focuses on Black Orkun comic book, which appears to be one of the examples.
Today, the non-forcible “consent” notion, which is frequently applied by groups controlling the hegemony to continue their social validity, has gained significance as a strategy accepted by democratic countries. Undoubtedly, media plays a central role in producing social consent. Media reinforces its function in maintaining the existing social and political system, and in sustaining the judicial order not only through news media but also through popular culture products published in mainstream media. One of the elements, which is often mediated in popular culture products and gives a ratings boost, is the use of “violence” in media content. Thus, it could be argued that both in traditional and new media, violence-based contents are commonly used.
It is observed that violence element is intensively used in cartoons (as a means of mass media) and particularly in written and illustrated fictions such as the comic book that this study focuses on. In this context, the aim of the study is to analyse the role of violence element in the general theme of historical comic book Black Orkun and how it is presented. Within this framework, Black Orkun’s “Black Dragon” adventure, published in Tercüman newspaper, is studied in terms of its indicators of violence elements and presentation of violence; and a qualitative analysis has been made.
(University of York, UK)
Perceptions of Love in Popular Music Culture
For a long time, youth culture has been closely linked with popular culture, yet little current exploration has been carried out on how this interdependence has affected children’s understanding of romantic love and relationships. This paper questions whether children are shaped by the music they listen to and investigates if this has a bearing on a child’s construction of love and the gender role norms in a loving relationship.
Musical preferences can be used to perform identities to others. In the developmental years, children arguably look to popular music to inform their ideas about what constitutes a loving relationship; what popular music is performing about love must therefore be explored, as should children’s understanding of its messages. I wish to explore children’s perceptions about love songs and to investigate whether songs about love become replaced with songs about sex at a certain point.
My study uses empirical research on children aged 10-16 and explores how both young females and males interpret love in popular music. Using excerpts from my own data I will use current popular music by female and male artists to discuss the conflicting messages about love and relationships youth culture must negotiate.
(Centre d’études sociologiques, Université Saint-Louis de Bruxelles, Belgium)
New Forms of Cultural Distinctions: An Analysis of Contemporary Ways to Legitimate Cultural Practices and Lifestyles in Everyday Life
This communication will question how the concept of “popular culture” can be used in a perspective of sociology of culture. Drawing on the work of Pierre Bourdieu and his collaborators in the 60’s (La distinction), we would like to pursue the aim of enlightening the issue of the legitimacy of popular culture forms as well as of the way cultural practice supports or reduces social and symbolic violence. However, the cultural context has undergone profound transformations that should be taken into account (certain of them were already announced in La distinction). For example, classical tools of distinction (for example diplomas) have lost their aura and provide less symbolic gratification than before. We are witnessing what Bourdieu already called a “crise de la bonne volonté culturelle” (crisis of the cultural goodwill). This reinforce the necessity to investigate the field of cultural practices as a way used by people in their everyday life and in an individualistic society of translating and justifying social inequalities in lifestyle dissimilarities.
To do so, we will make use data collected in two research, the first being on self-help literature (40 interviews of self-help readers as well as in over 300 mails authors of self-help books have received) and the second being on the cultural practices in the French-speaking part of Belgium (around 150 interviews).
Following E. Illouz’s definition of culture as a set of social resources mobilized by individuals to give sense to their existence, we will show how it is possible to speak of a reconfiguration of the symbolic struggle through analyses of the language games (Wittgenstein) used by our respondents to explain their cultural practices of more or less legitimate objects and to distinguish them from (what they consider as) illegitimate or bad cultural practices. More precisely, three aspects of the struggle reconfiguration will be regarded. First, the presence in these language games of the vocabulary of the “personal experience” (to be connected to what Bourdieu already called “exemplarity”) and of “personal choice”. Second, the refusal of what respondents consider as the “establishment” (Bourdieu spoke of “humeur anti-institutionnelle”). Third, the way respondents evolve between enchantment and cynicism. Finally, we will introduce some hypothetic implications of our analyses concerning the current cultural context.
(University of Turku, Department of Musicology, Finland)
Live Music in the Tourist Industry: A Comparative Study between the Finnish Hotel Cruise Lines and Sharm El Sheikh’s Resorts Entertainment
The primary aim of this study is to focus on the tourists’, singer-musicians’ and hotel managers’ experiences with live music in Finnish hotel cruise lines and Sharm El Sheikh’s seaside resorts. The tourist, singer-musician and hotel manager relations — although an integral part of the tourist experience — have received little attention in past tourism and music studies. Thus, the purpose of this research will be to show that by observing these different informants performance rituals, interactions, and attitudes towards different genres of live music in the tourist industry, we could offer insightful guidelines to better understand the cultural significance of live music in the tourist experience. Furthermore, the research will try to encompass new grounds by focusing on the sociocultural and aesthetic meanings of live (popular, folk and world) music performances, from a tourist rather than popular music perspective. Thus, themes such as the “flow” (Csikszentmihalyi), “liminality” (Turner) and “cultural memory” (Assmann), will be crucial in assessing the socio-culturally different or similar performer-audience meanings and experiences with live music in Finnish hotel cruise lines and Sharm El Sheikh’s hotel-resorts. Unlike previous tourism and music studies, this research will shed more light on the similarities in the host-guest and performer-audience experiences. While the use of a multi-sited ethnographic framework will be handy, as it will explore the similarities in the host-guest experiences for the two “world apart” sites, it will also study the future impacts of world systems on changes in local music production and vice versa. Finally, the Performance, Symbolic Interactionism, Distinction, Cultural Imperialism and World System theories, should be seen as tool kits for other performance, tourism, popular and world music studies.
(Halmstad University, Sweden)
Negotiating the Closet in Gay Film
Twenty-five gay films produced from 1987 to 2011 in Europe, the US, Argentina and Israel form the basis for this study on negotiating the closet, both in terms of staying in voluntarily and on passing in the heteronormative community. In this paper I look at the phenomenon of the closet in terms of the change regarding the stress in the films that has occurred over time in the cinematic narratives. Earlier films such as Edge of Seventeen and Beautiful Thing focused more on the negative aspects of staying in the closet and celebrated coming out as the necessary goal symbolizing self-acceptance as gay. More recent films, e.g. Shelter and Plan B, emphasize that self-acceptance can and does occur before coming out and emphasize life in the closet as a private, safe space and on passing as a negotiation made with the Self and intimate other(s) in relation to the norms and requirements of the surrounding heteronormative society. While there are similarities in international gay film, this theme also reveals marked differences. Outside the US, passing is not always represented as a personal choice but as a professional or religious imposition required by the community in which the characters live. Inside the US, coming out is still usually seen as the goal and passing is usually read as a negative choice by the individual character rather than as a structurally imposed one.
(School of Communications, Dublin City University, Ireland)
What Richard and Michel Did: Discourses on Middle-Class Masculinity and Violence in Recent European Popular Culture
Random acts of violence committed by middle-class males have become the subject of intense media focus in recent years, not only in the US but also in many European countries. This concern has also been reflected in a number of popular cultural texts such as Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin (2003), Christos Tsiolkas The Slap (2008) and Christopher Wakling’s What I Did (2011). Much of the reviewer commentary around these novels and their filmic / TV adaptations has tended to focus on the dynamics of the middle-class (post)modern family and questions of child-centred parenting and political correctness. There has been little sustained analysis of this sub-genre, however, from the point of view of its constructions of masculinity. This paper explores cultural constructions of the young, middle-class European male in two recent narratives about the nature and repercussions of random male violence, namely Irish filmmaker Lenny Abrahamson’s film What Richard Did (2012) and Dutch author Herman Koch’s best-selling novel The Dinner (2012). It demonstrates how certain postmodern cultural constructions of young men ‘out of control’ dovetail with contemporary media discourses in Europe on the decline of paternal authority, the ‘Nanny State’ and the ‘crisis of multiculturalism’ (Titley and Lentin, 2011). However, a comparative analysis of the structural / ideological poetics of these texts reveals interesting differences in their framing of nature-nurture discourses, and of the causes of ostensibly random acts of violence by young men.
(University of Turku, Department of General History, Finland)
Technological Narratives in Kraftwerk’s album ‘Computer World’
Kraftwerk is one of the most influential German rock/pop bands of all times. Kraftwerk started as an experimental rock band but in the mid-1970s it developed into an electronic pop group which inspired many other bands and styles worldwide. As an iconic modernist and (retro) futuristic act, Kraftwerk has had a very distinct way of looking both into the past and to the future. In the 1970s Kraftwerk made songs and albums about motorways, radio and nuclear power, railways and man-machine symbiosis in a way that suggested that the band is more engaged with the past than the future. However, in the 1980s their music started to envision more futuristic aspects of present life and the shape of things to come. Kraftwerk’s album Computer World (1981) was groundbreaking since it showed and predicted many aspects how the information technology, especially personal computers are able to change our daily life.
In my presentation, I will explore the technological narratives that are present in the audiovisual concept and individual tracks of Computer World. In my analysis, I use the categories of Optimistic (Utopian), Pessimistic (Dystopian) and Postmodern (Anti-Utopian) technological narratives. Both optimistic and pessimistic stories on technology include pre-modern and modernist modes of narrative. The division is loosely based on Timo Airaksinen’s ideas on technological narratives (Airaksinen 2000). Computer World as a concept surfaces Kraftwerk’s ambivalent and ironic relationship towards modern technology. However, before Computer World Kraftwerk retained in ironical and satirical comments on the totalitarian aspects of modern technology but in Computer World this theme was elaborated in more concrete manner.
I argue that Kraftwerk’s approach to technology evolved throughout the late 1970s and became more nuanced and complicated during the renewal of their Kling Klang studio in Düsseldorf. Computer World reflected this shift and connected Kraftwerk’s vision into present discussions on technological risks and hazards. The contemplation of risks continued, for example, in the early 1990s when Kraftwerk reworked the lyrics of their 1975 track Radioactivity, which now became an anthem for warning on the risks of nuclear technology. My elaboration of the theme and arguments is grounded on primary sources that include the artistic output of Kraftwerk and the published interviews of the band members.
(University of Turku, Department of Cultural History, Finland)
Transforming City Space in Late-Nineteenth-Century Viennese Popular Humour
In the nineteenth-century, in the age of industrialization und urbanization, popular humour had a new kind of significant role in constructing local urban identity. Humour, above all else, was understood to express a certain urban worldview and a way of life that was unique and authentic for the inhabitants of the city. It was cherished with pride and comparisons were made between the senses of humour of inhabitants in different cities. Thus, popular humour became not just a way of making sense of the city but a significant discourse for urbanity. Humour provided means to interpret the changing urban environment that was full of change, discontinuation, fragmentation and movement. Understanding the local humour, the shared meanings that enabled to “get the joke”, meant being part of the city. Furthermore, besides of understanding and discussing the city, humour could even be used in order to change the city.
This paper is related to my ongoing dissertation project Popular Humour and the Transformation of City Space in Late Nineteenth-Century Vienna. By analyzing humorous alternative plans and suggestions for the future city, published in the Viennese Witzblätter during the urban renewal between 1857 and 1890, my aim is to demonstrate that popular humour was an important part of cultural negotiation on meanings, identities and power embedded in city space. My main argument is that humorous alternative plans for future Vienna were a way of taking part in the public discussion on the transformation of urban space. Imagining the city in popular humour shows a basic contradiction between humour’s creative and innovative potential and its conservative tendencies. Humorous alternative plans and suggestions at the same time resisted and demanded the change of the city.
(Institute for Art Theory and Media Studies, ELTE University in Budapest, Hungary)
Urban Nightlife in Socialist Hungary
My paper offers an outline of Hungary’s urban nightlife between the early 1950s and the late 1980. Based on archival materials, interviews and secondary literature I present the change of the nightlife scene in terms its institutions, functions and norms. Applying the post-Habermasian literature’s notion of the popular public sphere, I give an outline of the changing norms and political functions of the life in cafés, cultural clubs and private parties as a dynamic power interface between state and the society. This way I present urban nightscapes as a rather unusual, but still a politically contested terrain where, in a limited sense, a certain form of political community, i.e. a “public” could materialize. I characterize the various historical-political periods with different nightlife scenes. I depict the tough years of the Stalinist dictatorship in the 1950s with the description and analysis the operation of some politically closely watched upscale bars in Budapest. The slowly emancipating everyday life in the post-1956 period is exemplified through the analyses of certain artists and bohemian circles life, which in a sense created a shadow public sphere in private apartments and urban cafés. The politically ambiguous period at the turn of the 1970-80s brought not only chilling conflicts between the super powers, such as Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the martial law in Poland, but also, the first manifestations of organized and institutionalized political opposition in East Central Europe, which change in a sense successfully utilized the semi-private and semi-public infrastructure of the nightlife scene.
(University of Turku, Department of Musicology, Finland)
Political Participation through Popular Music: The Case of Pussy Riot’s ‘Punk Moleben (Mother of God, Drive Putin Away)’
The ‘Punk Moleben’ (Punk Prayer) video by the Russian collective Pussy Riot in February 2012 is one of the most outstanding examples of political participation through popular music during the 21st century. The aim of the present paper is to explore the case by applying Street, Hague & Savigny’s theory of the role of music and musicians in political participation (2007) and Schechner’s notion of guerrilla performance (1971). The aspects to be explored are: cause, organizational infrastructure, performance, distribution and consequences.
The cause of the ‘Punk Moleben’ performance was to participate in a protest movement against the re-election of Vladimir Putin for the president of Russia in early 2012. Pussy Riot consists of a dozen performers and approximately fifteen other members constituting the technical staff responsible for sound recording, video shooting, editing and posting the videos on the Internet. The ‘Punk Moleben’ video is a montage of footages shot at two churches in Moscow. The song lyrics criticize bitingly Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill’s open support to Putin’s re-election. The music underscores this criticism by the juxtaposition of a quotation from Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Bogoroditse Devo, Raduisya (Blessed Virgin, Rejoice) from his Vigilia and the aggressive energy of the punk-based verse and refrain.
By videotaping guerrilla performances and distributing them on the Internet, Pussy Riot adopted practices from traditional guerrilla warfare and contemporary media warfare. The church and the state had no means to prevent the downloading and uploading of the video. Three members of the group were arrested and sent to prison because of having “crudely undermined the social order” and showing a “complete lack of respect” for believers. The church (Patriarch Kirill) and state (Vladimir Putin) saved their faces but eventually ‘Punk Moleben’ was a moral triumph for Pussy Riot. In any case, the video is still there.
(University of Turku, Department of Cultural History, Finland)
Matti Nykänen and His Audience: A Symbiotic Relationship
This paper considers the multiple meanings that Matti Nykänen has for his audience. Drawing on an Internet-survey distributed among anonymous participants in different parts of Finland, the paper explores a number of contradictions that are intrinsic to the Matti-phenomenon. Many of these contradictions reflect existing tensions within Finnish society, as experienced from the 1980s to the present. The symbiotic relationship between Nykänen and his audience reveals as much about him as it does about the audience, for one constitutes the other. All of the various parties that have over the years appropriated Nykänen for their purposes – whether sporting, business or entertainment – ultimately contribute to the complex meanings attached to this Finnish legend and (fallen) hero, one who still remains in the annals of sport history as the best ski-jumper of all time.
(University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany)
Love Erasing Boundaries? Romantic Love as an Unstable Means of Overcoming Difference in Nicola Cornick’s Lord of Scandal (2008) and One Wicked Sin (2011)
The Regency romance is one of the popular romance’s oldest and richest subgenres. These texts contain a constructed historical space within which varying textual and discursive depictions and negotiations of difference play out. However, the core of popular romantic idea(l)s and love stays the same – or does it? This paper will demonstrate how, in Nicola Cornick’s Regency romances, the concept of romantic love is predicated upon difference. Her texts feature more atypical heroes, heroines and structures of love and desire, which are mainly based on difference in terms of gender, class, especially in Lord of Scandal, and nationality, as in One Wicked Sin. The consummate construction of romantic love is a continual attempt to bridge the divide that results from categories of difference assigned to the protagonists. Hence, it becomes tenable to analyse difference on an individual textual level by using a psychosemiotic approach. It can be argued that romantic love in Cornick’s Regency romances is based on a foundation of instability which is repeated metonymically throughout the text and therefore also plays into a desire and promise to overcome difference and complete the individual Self by attaining romantic love in both its spiritual and physical form. Yet, Cornick’s ‘happy end’ is not always a complete bridging of difference by means of romantic love, but a glossing over of an assumption and presupposition of a fundamental difference between two protagonists who can only become unified by placing them in an imaginary position and an imaginary version of the past.
(Research Centre for Journalism, Media and Communication, University of Tampere, Finland)
Not a Kitchen-Sink, but a Leather Sofa: The Settings of Finnish Television Series and Their Relationship to Class
In the British television studies, the linkage between class and social realism with its particular kind of rough milieu is often taken as given. Yet, the Nordic countries have developed their own versions of social realism that entail the socio-historical and cultural features of these societies.
In my presentation, I analyse the key Finnish social realistic television series, ranging from the 1960s to 1990s. The reading is based on the idea of ‘belonging’ introduced by Nira Yuval-Davis (2011). I examine how the television series hail their viewers by their setting, either by asking them to belong to particular class – or by persuading them to rebut it as an object of belonging. I will not only scrutinize the settings of the Finnish series in their historical context, but also discuss them in relation to British studies of social realism.
My research suggests that the Finnish series – despite their striking visual similarities with their UK counterparts – depict the relation between modernization process and the class system much more optimistically than the British ones. At the same time, it appears that the representations of class become more cynical over the studied period, so that the linkage between the rugged setting and working class is being renewed along with the 1990s depression.
(University of Turku, Finland)
The Relevance of Looks in Finnish Online Dating Ads: Dealing with Obesity
The importance of physical appearance in dating matters has been known for a long time. Evolutionary line of research makes it one of the most important components in human mate selection process. The image of the perfect woman and man is fed to the public by media and commercial elements. That is giving pressure for everyone, not to mention those who are overweight.
In what way Finnish people demand the certain physical type or looks when they search their soul mate online? And, how do people raise and handle the question of obesity in Finnish online dating ads?
My research data contains about 1000 online dating ads collected in 2012. Ads were semi-structured and in the analysis the main emphasis was given to the open text field. The research methods were close reading and categorizing.
I found four categories on how obese people would describe themselves. 1. One is defensive attitude: I like myself just the way I am. If obesity is a problem for you, don’t bother me at all. 2. Another is more flexible or humble: I know I should start exercising and eating healthy, but… 3.Then there is a category for making it all humoristic. 4. The last category is ignoring the whole overweight issue in the open text field. One can only see the marking “size XL” in the structural form.
In all first three categories there is lot of explanations given about the looks or weight. Slim people just mention “slim” or “athletic” once without extra explanations. Dealing with the obesity means usually that people feel some explanation is needed.
(Siegen University, Germany)
The Coming of Age of Postal Pop and the Lover’s Image. Postcards as a Means of (Post-)Romantic Discourse
At the end of the 19th century postcards emerged in popular culture as a new mode of image-based communication and became the latest fashion for romantic discourse among young lovers. Apparently by way of an abundant use of illustrated cards that drew on idyllic iconography, common patterns of romantic concepts were affirmed in a rather striking manner both in public and in private. To show that postcard pop is not a mere commercial phenomenon of epistolary decline but was successful as an intriguing “concoction” of implicit and explicit signals to encode new modes of phatic communion, this paper takes on a historic perspective and focuses on postcards as a means of romantic discourse in late 19th and early 20th century. It will be argued that postcards as a much aspired licence to flippancy and kitsch met the needs to declare and participate in urban modernity. Postcards became symbols to express a desire for intensity and immediacy, for both levity and seriousness. They were requested and applied as a medium to map the romantic as a territory for playfulness as much as they served to carve out polyvalent images of love –– the ironic, the sentimental, the utopic. Therefore postcard communication as romantic practice is pop in terms of an aesthetic phenomenon; it is popular in the sense that it demarcates a social shift towards modernity and that it marks an expression of “zeitgeist” within youth culture.
(University of Turku, Department of Folkloristics, Finland)
Defining a Country through Popular Culture? The Case of Dracula Tourism in Romania
Popular culture can have a major impact on tourism. Literature, movies and TV shows have all had major impacts on different tourism sites around the world. In fact the influence is so strong that there are specific forms of tourism based around them like for example literary tourism and movie induced tourism. Famous example of literary tourism is Jane Austen and the locations connected to both her and to her books. There are several examples of movie induced tourism, like for example the three famous “Scottish” films of the 1990s Rob Roy, Loch Ness and Braveheart which are estimated to have attracted between £7m and £15m in extra tourist revenue to Scotland. In many cases literary tourism and movie induced tourism are overlapping. One very evident example of this is Dracula tourism.
Dracula tourism is tourism where tourists visit sites and places that are associated with both the historical Dracula, Vlad the Impaler and the fictional vampire Count Dracula. Dracula tourism is mainly connected with Romania, although there is some Dracula tourism also in Great Britain. Ever since the publication of Dracula by Bram Stoker in 1897, Transylvania (and partly also the whole of Romania) has become almost synonymous with vampires in the Western popular imagination. Since Dracula, this link has been strengthened through numerous different movies, books and TV programmes. However in Romania the reactions to this linkage have ranged from acceptive to hostile. Although Dracula tourism is not the most popular form of tourism in Romania, it is however very visible.
In this paper/presentation I will examine how popular culture is used in Dracula tourism in Romania and how the local actors in tourism industry are reacting to it.
(Université Paris 13, France & Åbo Akademi, Finland)
Concealed Bodies – Enhancing Surprise or Suspense in Crime Novels by Virginie Brac and Arnaldur Indridason
My paper studies the (in)visibility of the detective’s body in Virginie Brac’s Véra Cabral-series (Tropique du pervers, Notre-Dame des barjots, Double peine) and Arnaldur Indridason’s Bettý. Virginie Brac’s protagonist and narrator Véra Cabral is an intersex having opted for a female gender identity. The main character and narrator in Bettý, is revealed to be a lesbian, who gets framed and condemned for a murder she has not committed, because of her desperate need for recognition. Each author aims to play with gender norms and question heteronormativity in these crime novels. However, they move beyond the conventional approach to simply introduce a non-normative (main) character, linking the body and its desire to typical narrative devices of the crime genre and the individual plot.
My presentation is divided into two parts. Firstly, it explores how the textual representation of these characters’ body, i.e. the lack of physical descriptions, contribute to create a mystery surrounding their gender identity (Brac), or even totally fool the reader (Indridason). This uncertainty and misapprehension are carefully constructed in the texts, through vocabulary, omissions and vague descriptions of gender markers among other things. The reader’s heteronormative assumptions are cleverly exploited, especially by Indridason.
Secondly, I show if and how the particularities of these concealed bodies are linked to the plot and narrative structure of the novels, influencing both the crimes and the investigations. Brac uses the protagonist’s body to create a secondary mystery and a romance story running parallel to the actual crimes and their investigation, while Indridason uses the “invisible body” to disorient the reader in the beginning. Later, the non-normative desire of the ultimately revealed body becomes a pivotal element in the successful framing and condemnation of the protagonist.
(York University, Department of Humanities, Canada)
The Trans-Aesthetics of ‘Before Sunrise’
In 1995, indie filmmaker Richard Linklater won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlinale for his third feature-length film, Before Sunrise, which tells the story of two twenty-somethings – the male American (played by Ethan Hawke) and the female French (played by Julie Delpy) – who meet on a train headed from Budapest to Paris and spontaneously decide to disembark in Vienna and spend the day and night together. As much as it is their story, one whose endearing popularity led to the 2004 sequel Before Sunset, set in Paris, and the recently released Before Midnight, set in Greece, the original, like its sequel and unlike the most recent addition to the series, demands attention as a city film, and more specifically, one that reasserts Vienna’s cosmopolitical importance after the fall of the Wall and the Iron Curtain.
This paper proposes to show that the geopolitical changes of 1989-91 in Central Europe had repercussions in popular culture that Linklater, with his perceptive artistic sensitivities, registered in his film. Not only did the end of the Cold War deeply affect cultural interrelations in the region, but the ruptures it inaugurated took the appropriately paradoxical postmodern form of not continuity but resurrection, specifically a return to the period of what was arguably the city’s greatest glory, the Baroque. Not only did this have the effect of reasserting the city’s imaginary status as the capital of Central Europe in the post-Cold War new European order but it also can be shown to have inaugurated neo-Baroque fashion-oriented changes to Vienna that have since reshaped both the city’s built environment and its global image.
(University of Eastern Finland, Finland)
Constructions of Rastafari in Finnish Reggae Performances
In the field of comparative religion it has been suggested that religion can analytically be understood as a discursive phenomenon or technique which is increasingly used outside of religious institutions. In this paper, I will analyze how boundaries between religious and secular expression are constructed in the spaces of Finnish reggae performances and musical scene. The paper draws from the ethnographic data, which I formed during the year 2012, and which consists of interviews with Finnish reggae musicians and promoters, as well as my own field observations from reggae performances.
My focus in this paper is one Finnish reggae soundsystem called Intergalaktik Sound. This soundsystem is oriented to dub- or roots-reggae. I will analyse how the DJ:s or toasters of this soundsystem, Nestori and Jah-Vice, perform in different venues, and how they represent themselves sonically, lyrically and bodily as Rastafarians in these spaces. I expect my research results to demonstrate how boundaries between Rastafari-oriented roots-reggae soundsystem scene and mainstream music productions are discursively formed. In addition, I hope to show how these borders are contested, and how influences flow between these fields. The theory of my analysis draws from Stuart Hall’s concept of articulation and sociolinguistic concept of code-switching, which Mark Slobin has applied to ethnomusicology.
(University of Turku, Department of Media Studies, Finland)
From Contemplation to Kinesthetics: A Historical Conceptualization of the ‘Adventure Game’
This presentation provides an analysis of the historical alterations of the term ‘adventure game’ within modern (computer) gaming culture. The premise is that the defining factors in the early usage of ‘adventure game’ were story content and the game’s lack of time-critical kinesthetic challenge, while in more recent usage the term refers also to kinesthetically challenging games. The premise is confirmed valid with an academically biased discourse analysis. In order to provide a language that takes into account both referred usages, a dual terminology is suggested. The adventure game is divided into ‘action adventure games,’ in which the story is traversed by overcoming kinesthetic (time-critical) as well as nonkinesthetic (time-free) challenges; and ‘classic adventure games,’ in which the story provides nonkinesthetic challenge alone.
(University of Jyväskylä, Department of Art and Culture Studies; University of Oulu, Department of Geography, Finland)
Upper-Class Beauty and the Low-Class Bastard – Utilizing the Authenticity, Glocalization and Commercialization of Hip Hop Culture in the Finnish Cinema
This presentation explores how the Finnish cinema represents and glocalizes global hip hop culture in Northern European culture and society. Hip hop has proved to be a flexible cultural form, which enters new locations and begins to build up local characteristics, yet simultaneously, maintains links to its African American heritage. The article introduces a Finnish feature film Beauty and the Bastard (2005), which tells a romantic story about a young suburban upper class girl daydreaming of R&B stardom, and an inner city boy, who is already a rather successful hip hop artist, as an example of a Northern European glocalization process of African American hip hop culture. In spite of its Northern European origin, the film operates in a Northern American context. It employs a classic plot structure, designed for the Hollywood cinema, and builds its narration on an originally African American ghetto culture, i.e. hip hop and its conventions. Furthermore, where the Northern American “boyz-n-the-hood” movies highlight masculine black identity and aspects of Northern American low-class ghetto life, Beauty and the Bastard likewise counts on gender and class divisions as a means of the politics of difference. This has all been, however, adjusted in the film to suit Finnish and European culture and society, in order to promote its plausibility in the Finnish and European context. This authenticity has been constructed with binary images of city space: the socio-economically marginalized inner and industrial city, the wealthy upper or middle class suburb and the business world of the city centre.
Kokkonen Jouko Samuli
(Sports Museum of Finland, Senior Researcher, Finland)
The Way of Ice Hockey to the Most Popular Sport in Finland
Ice Hockey is in the 2010s by far the most popular spectator sports in Finland. Today Finnish top-level ice hockey gains over three million spectators in a season, which is roughly ten times over the figures reached by football or Finnish baseball (pesäpallo). However in the 1960s ice hockey was in the popularity behind football, pesäpallo and track and field athletics.
The aim of this study is to analyze the key factors behind the growing popularity of ice hockey. The theme will be discussed from both cultural and structural points of view. Finnish society urbanized rapidly after the World War II, which had a strong effect on the sports life. In the same time the standard of living raised steadily. This opened markets for the various kinds of popular culture. One of the important decisions made by the Finnish Ice Hockey Federation was to establish a semiprofessional hockey league in 1975. Quite soon league turned into fully professional. In the same time popular cultural and entertaining elements became more and more important. This process has in many ways changed the relationship between the teams and their supporters. Supporting a team has become a way of life for many supporters. Also the roles of the media and sponsors have changed especially from the 1980s.
Ice hockey is deeply rooted into Northern America and especially Canada. So comparisons with the North American hockey and spectator culture will be made. In Finnish ice hockey there are many elements, which have been imported from Northern America, but they have been adjusted to the local Finnish sports culture. Finnish top-level ice hockey has turned into a popular cultural product, which consist not only of sports but also is a package of experiences.
(University of Jyväskylä, Finland)
‘You Broke the Holy Grail!’: Christian Symbolism in Don Rosa’s Disney Comics
From the 1950s, so called Comics Code defined the prohibited contents of comic books in the United States. It listed the subjects that were not suitable for children to whom comics were directed. Dell Comics was the only publishing house producing Disney comics, but it never followed the Comics Code. Since Disney comics were cute and funny animal comics, the fear of excessive violence and nudity was not the question. However, Dell Comics had their own codes on which topics were not allowed in Disney comics. One of them was religion. During his career, Carl Barks broke quite many of these “rules”, and his successor Don Rosa has taken Disney comics even further. Death, love, hinted sexuality and historical continuum have never before been seen in Disney comics.
This paper concentrates on the Christian symbolism that Don Rosa has used as a part of his comics “The Once and Future Duck” (1996) and “A Letter from Home” (2004). The symbolism is actualized with the two mythical symbolic objects of Christians: the Holy Grail and the Arc of the Covenant. My aim is to study the use of these symbols, what are their functions in the narrative? Are there Christian values present in the comic or do the objects only offer a price in the end of Indiana Jones type of adventure?
(University of Turku, Finland; University of Zagreb, Croatia)
The British Butler and the French Maid: European National Stereotypes in Disney Animated Features
The popularity and world-wide success of (animated) feature films produced by the Walt Disney Studio has turned the term ‘Disney’ into something of a synonym for family (and, particularly children’s) entertainment and childhood innocence. While not bringing into question artistic and technical achievements of the films, scholars and critics have pointed to their various problematic, at times even controversial aspects. Much has been written about the so-called process of Disneyfication which serves to squeeze different narratives (novels, myths, legends, fairy tales) into the ‘Disney mold’, as well as the specific (patriarchal, capitalist, American) ideology inscribed in the films. Feminist and cultural critics have been particularly prolific.
In this presentation, I propose to take a look at a frequently overlooked (but no less problematic) aspect of Disney animated feature films, namely, the stereotypical presentation of European characters. French, Italian and British characters (these being national groups most frequently portrayed on film) are, for the most part, consigned to the roles of (comic) sidekicks (the exception being British characters who are frequently cast as villains), and portrayed so as to embody national stereotypes. The stereotypical nature of the characters is seen in their names (Babette the French maid, Tony the Italian restaurateur), appearance (sexually suggestive French girl), characteristics (the stingy Scot), occupations (the British butler/majordomo, the French chéf) and habits (tea-drinking Brits). Apart from being examined in their own right, European characters (or, at least those speaking with European accents) will also be viewed in relation to their American counterparts (or, at least those speaking with an American accent). The findings and observations will be based on close readings of Disney full-length animated films, within the theoretical framework of cultural, image and film studies.
(University of Sussex, UK)
From ‘Chav’ to Celebrity: Representations of Class and Gender in Jade Goody’s Autobiographies
Celebrity autobiographies recount a journey of an unfinished human being – a human being in process. The celebrity travels towards accomplishment through various highs and lows, and nowhere is this incompleteness stronger than in the autobiographies of young, female, working class reality TV celebrities such as Jade Goody. This paper will argue that representations of British working-class female reality TV celebrities are intimately tied to a femininity articulated through narratives of class. Jade Goody appeared in series three of reality TV show Big Brother in 2002 and, after the show, managed to build a media career cultivated through appearances in reality TV shows and through confessional interviews. She can be categorised as ‘famous for being famous’ and managed to stay in the media through her ‘train-wreck’ existence and being involved in scandals. This paper examines Goody’s two autobiographies Jade – My Autobiography (2006) and Jade – Catch a Falling Star (2008) through narratives of class and gender in the construction and de-construction of her celebrity image. At the heart of these autobiographies is the struggle for validation in the eyes of others through self-improvement, offering a ‘rags to riches’ narrative from brutal childhood neglect and domestic abuse to success and fame.
This kind of autobiography gives to those who would normally be excluded access to public discourse. Goody’s ability to publish autobiographies brought her within the frame of capitalist culture, whereas telling of her own story also attempts to persuade fans of her ‘authenticity.’ This ‘authenticity’ is articulated through representations of class and gender. As Skeggs puts it, ‘class is experienced by women as exclusion. Whereas working-class men can use class as a positive source of identity, a way of including themselves in a positively valorised social category, this does not apply for working-class women’ (1997: 74). Drawing from Skegg’s analysis of class and gender, this paper will therefore examine the classed representations of Jade Goody; her rise from ‘chav’ to celebrity, the scandals that lead to continuous failures and public condemnation, and the gendered and classed autobiographical discourses that work to re-instate her fame. In general, being a ‘chav’ is something that has to be left behind in order to succeed, but as Goody’s success shows, it can also be used in the construction of a celebrity persona. Goody embodies the contradictory nature of modern celebrity. The media’s merciless condemnation at various points of her persona paradoxically ensured her celebrity status and her inclination to confess all gave permanence to her fame.
(University of Turku, Department of Musicology, Finland)
Youth Band Hobbies and Technology
In this paper I will discuss band hobbies among youth in the Turku area with a special focus on technology. This paper is part of my PhD research in which I investigate how music and band hobbies construct identities. I am particularly interested in how gender and ethnicity figure in these practices. I am presently conducting ethnographic fieldwork, which includes observing musical practices in a local band competition, rehearsal rooms and a band school both in organised and non-organised youth activities. My data comprises interviews and a questionnaire. In this paper I discuss in detail the technologies needed for playing amplified music, performance and the special technological requirements of different popular music genres, such as singer and songwriter or death metal. Because I see technology as an important part of band hobbies, it is an aspect I am systematically observing and analysing in my work. Mavis Bayton’s study of female rockers has inspired this aspect of my research. I attempt to account for girls’ and boys’ experiences and reflections on a practical level: in terms of how they learn to play and use technologies like instruments, amplifiers, speakers, leads, pedals and recording equipment. I am particularly interested in how the high proportion of male teachers and technicians affects young people’s experiences. How do these people speak to girls or boys about technology and how much they are helping them with technology? Stereotypes and challenging stereotypical behaviour is another interesting point of view, when considering gender and technology.
(University of Turku, Department of Cultural History, Finland)
Searching for the Soundscapes of Transhumanism
Transhumanism (H+, h+ or Humanity+) is an extremely positive movement or rather a group of similar movements, believing that humanity can overcome the present enormous ecological challenges by means of technology and personal growth. A lot of intellectual and ‘visionary’ elements of the ideology have been drawn from the products of popular culture, mainly science fiction literature (beginning with the classics such as Asimov, Lem, Heinlein, Gibson), films (2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, Gattaca), video games, and graphic novels.
I am in the initial stages of a new research project on the cultural history of transhumanism. I am especially interested in how ‘future’ sounds in popular culture are connected to Transhumanism’s ideals. In my paper I will mostly concentrate on the examples from the field of popular music.
(University of Helsinki, Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies, Finland)
‘Expanding Market and Promoting the Nation’: Public Discourses on Exporting Finnish Films in the Studio Era
Finnish films have not been well-known in global film culture, which is understandable for a small film culture with limited resources. Only recently − it seems − there have been special plans to export Finnish films, and Finnish film makers have attracted international interest. However, Finnish films have been exported (at least) since the 1920s. During the studio era (from the end of the 1930s to the beginning of the 1960s) the Finnish film industry targeted it products mainly at a domestic audience, yet, at the same time, it sought and hoped for opportunities to expand its market. In this paper, I will discuss these hopes of the Finnish film industry. More specifically, I will explore the public discourses on exporting Finnish films in Finland in the studio era: How exportable were Finnish films according to contemporaries? What kinds of films were considered exportable? How were the benefits of export argued for? Did the estimations and the arguments change in the course of time? And finally, how did these discourses participate in shaping the ideas of national cinema in Finland and its place in international film culture. My study is based on a rhetoric analysis of articles in contemporary film magazines (Suomen Kinolehti, Elokuva-Aitta, Suomi-Filmin Uutisaitta and SF-Uutiset).
The paper is a part of my ongoing research project High Hopes and Nordic Opportunities: Finnish Cinema Abroad 1937—1963 in which I study the export of Finnish films during the studio period, and how the assessments of the exportability of Finnish films affected the construction of the national cinema.
(London College of Fashion, University of the Arts, UK)
Misunderstood Girlhood: An Exploration of the Media Criticism of Child Beauty Pageants
In the summer of 2012, Marjo Niittyviita, a known Finnish media figure, was to host the first child beauty pageant in Helsinki. Within days of the news, the tabloid press dismissed the idea and she had received death threats directed at herself and her children. In the past few years, the media, and especially the tabloid press, has increasingly paid attention to the growing multimillion-dollar business of American-style child beauty pageants. With awareness, criticism has followed. Exploitation and sexualisation of girls and the commodification of childhood are at the heart of the criticism that the emotional topic endures, but there is next to no academic literature that deals exclusively with the subject.
When we see images of girls in pageants, we tend to respond in one of two ways – to moralise or to laugh. If we moralise, it is because we believe that the fantasies enacted by the girls are products of consumer culture, reflecting notions of beauty and femininity that are passé and degrading. To admit that these fantasies come from an innate need or desire would make it impossible to for us to moralise or to laugh. Instead we would be forced to understand where they came from and what they represent.
This paper will situate these pageants in the modern sensationalist media context; review the history of women, their dress and its association with their sexuality. It will explain how our adversity towards the pageants arose, and present an alternative view. This paper will conclude that the one-sided criticism that these pageants receive in the media actually harms women’s – and hence the girls’ – position in society. By shaming girls not only about their interest in beauty pageantry, but also about the reaction that their attire might provoke, society has been able to restrict women’s behaviour and freedom with the power of their own self-doubt.
(Umeå Centre for Gender Studies, Umeå University, Sweden)
West VS East, 300 (2006) VS Red Cliff (2008): Masculinities, Bodies and the Spectators Gaze in Popular Historical Film
Film is an act of communication between the audience and the film-maker yet also informed by its contemporary socio-cultural context (see, for example, Solomon: 2001, Hardwick, Parisinou: 2001). Historical fantasy films are placed in a (distant) past yet they often reflect contemporary ideas and social structures. In this paper we aim to look at the representations of both historical masculinities and femininities within two different cultural and geographical contexts: the popular historical fantasy films 300 (2006) and Red Cliff (2008).
300 is an American fictionalized retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae in ancient Greece. The plot revolves around the Spartan king Leonidas who leads three hundred Spartans into battle against the Persian King Xerxes. On the other hand, Red Cliff takes place in 208 CE during the last days of the Han Dynasty when shrewd Prime Minster Cao Cao declared war on the warlords in the South – Liu Bei and Sun Quan. These kingdoms formed an alliance that resulted in numerous battles and eventually culminated in the battle of Red Cliff. Both films are not truly historical accounts but produced for an international mass market consumption as such falling within the genre of popular historical fantasy.
By comparing two geographically and culturally disparate films, this paper investigates how mediated masculinities and femininities are constructed or distorted to match current global gender representations, in particular, from the perspectives of corporeal aesthetics and intelligence. By comparing the two films and pitting them against their respective historical and contemporary contexts, we address how intentional and stereotypical constructions of gender appeal to a general audience by matching contemporary notions of masculinity and femininity. Finally, we discuss international trends in gender representation and their impact on both Asian and American historical films.
(Tbilisi State Conservatory, Department of Ethnomusicology, Georgia)
Contemporary Forms of the Use of Georgian Traditional Music
The paper will discuss the implementation of the examples of traditional music in the life of Post–Soviet Georgia. Various forms of the use of traditional music will be discussed. 1) The use of Georgian traditional music during political demonstrations – Georgian folk song is the best means to unite congregated people with a patriotic idea. 2) Traditional music is used in music therapy. At the Tbilisi Centre for Mentally Retarded Children and Adolescents one of the means for therapy is participation of pupils in performance of Georgian folk songs. 3) The use of Georgian folk music in advertising industry – when advertising local goods, priority is given to the currently popular examples of traditional music. These songs arouse native feeling to the publicized product. On the other hand, the most effective and complex examples of Georgian traditional polyphony are used in order to attract foreign tourists. 4) Georgian folk music is also used by foreign artists. In this case songs are selected for their exotic sound and special emotional power. Sadly, sometimes the Georgian origin of these examples is not known not only to the public, but even to the artists. For instance, the eastern Georgian lyrical masterpiece Tsintsqaro was used in the pop song Hello Earth by Kate Bush. However the singer was unaware that it was a Georgian song, mentioning it in interviews as a “Czech or Russian chorale.”
Post-soviet Georgia is gradually included in a wider world and market economy. In this new situation the rich tradition of Georgian polyphony is changing its forms and sounds to adjust itself to the contemporary demands both inside and outside of Georgia.
(Ithaca College, New York, USA)
Growing Up Girl in Post-Communist Hungary
The mass media began leveraging the adolescent girl market around the turn of the millennium in many parts of the world, and today there are more forms of mediated and popular cultural content produced about – and aimed at – pre-adolescent and adolescent girls than ever before. Hungary since the end of the communist era has been fully incorporated into the global media market with dedicated television channels targeting children and young people. The intent of this paper is to better understand the complex relationship between pre-adolescent and adolescent girls and popular television programs by examining how these shows ‘instruct’ girls on how to become women – about how to make sense of romance, sexuality, body image, gender, career choices, and cultural identity. Part of the data comes from a collaborative international study on gender representation in children’s television conducted in 24 countries in which 400 children’s television programs shown in Hungary were analyzed in 2008. In addition, the paper will examine popular television shows on the Hungarian Disney Channel that target predominantly pre-adolescent and adolescent girls: Hannah Montana, The High School Musical and most recently Shake It Up! These shows that are an integral part of mainstream popular youth culture in Hungary also represent extensive franchises that through a wide range of commodities encourage conspicuous consumption among girls. In its conclusion, the paper questions whether contemporary popular television programs and their influential female protagonists present Hungarian girls with an equally or even more narrowly defined ideal of physical attractiveness, sexuality, and gender identity than was the case during the communist era.
(University of Turku, Finland)
The Trouble with Mick: Adapting the Story of Michael Collins for the Big Screen
This paper examines two projects by rivaling screenwriters to portray the life of the Irish revolutionary leader and statesman Michael Collins (1890-1922) in film and their subsequent war of words about the topic in mass media. Despite the seductiveness of Collins’s story – a handsome revolutionary and a man-of-action-turned-negotiator who signed the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921 and was killed at the age of 31 – he has not often been portrayed on screen. Neil Jordan’s biopic Michael Collins (1996) is the best-known portrayal of Collins on screen. Starting in late 1982, Neil Jordan wrote several drafts and versions of the story for screen before he finally was given the opportunity to make the film with Hollywood funding in 1995. The thirteen years that had elapsed since his commencing the project had seen another Irish screenwriter, Eoghan Harris, to take up the topic and write a screenplay on Collins for a(nother) Hollywood production. Harris’ script, titled Mick, was to be directed first by Michael Cimino and when his production collapsed, by Kevin Costner, but eventually it was not made at all.
When Jordan’s film was released in the autumn 1996, Harris became one of the most vociferous critics of Jordan’s film. On the one hand Harris accused Jordan’s film of being ‘(neo-)fascist’, on the other hand he criticised Jordan’s version for omitting ‘the whole powerful romantic sweep, sweet and bittersweet, of the Irish revolution’. The two screenwriters criticised each other’s scripts in The Irish Times in October 1996 with Jordan remarking that Harris’ script ‘seems to have sprung from the pages of a Young Ireland pamphlet, or from the Abbey stage of the 1930s under the “Irish Ireland” influence of Ernest Blythe.’ He concludes that the script’s ‘relation to history, under any definition of the term, is non-existent.’ Harris – who is a journalist and columnist – wrote a response and has written about his script, Jordan’s film and Michael Collins in the Irish press as recently as last October. This paper examines these screenwriters’ takes on Michael Collins, the representation of the Irish revolutionary period (1916-1923) and historical film in general.
(University of Helsinki, Finland)
Interactive Television, Competition and Entrepreneurialism in Socialist Popular Culture
I investigate the multidimensional mechanism related to the entrepreneurialism and marketing of the pop-culture industry and the close links it had to the introduction of interactive television. This example reflects simultaneously the different political, cultural, social and economic arenas and provides insight into interlinked competitive practices in state socialism. I elaborate the case of Hungary but numerous references will be made to Poland, Bulgaria and Romania when considering international organisations, international contests or economic interactions. The Soviet Union will be mentioned frequently as an underlying power influencing the context. The time period extends from the early 1960s until mid-1980s.
In the early 1960s a new form of song-contests based on interactive TV-shows was launched in all Eastern Bloc countries. The idea was that talented individuals could sign up to local competition and continue to the final contest, which was broadcasted and people could vote. It is well documented that these interactive programmes were extremely popular. With the cooperation of different media (TV, radio, print media) popular stars were born, and with them new sectors arose. In addition to the increase of production of records and record players, and TV sets, programme offices were established. The process gave birth to other businesses such as advertising agencies, record shops and Western-style agents. The competitors offered a role model for the people, which is why their image was important for the political elite, for the record companies, for the program offices and advertising agencies. Producing stardom for consumption was a complex endeavour that benefitted political and economic interests. National stars were offered first to Eastern audiences by organizing international song contests (like Sopot or the Intervision) but from the early 1970s attention turned towards Western markets.
(University of Technology, Sydney, Australia)
Helsinki Gothic Noir: Matti Joensuu’s ‘Priest of Evil’
The Finnish crime writer and former police officer Matti Joensuu, who died in 2011 at the age of 63, has left a rich legacy of work since 1976 involving his lugubrious middle-aged detective sergeant Timo Harjunpää of the Helsinki Violent Crimes Unit. These are partly based on Joensuu’s own experience of working for 35 years in the Helsinki police, latterly in the Arson and Explosives Unit. He retired from the Helsinki police in 2006.
Priest of Evil (Harjunpää ja pahan pappi, 2003), which appeared in English in 2006, is of particular interest, as it involves a mysterious Latin-spouting occult figure with mesmerising powers and murderous tendencies who lives in a deserted bunker in the bowels of the Helsinki metro system. The novel was adapted into a television film by director Olli Saarela, broadcast in Finland in 2010, which seriously distorts the plot and makes the characters much younger than they are in the book. Five of Joensuu’s other novels have also been adapted for Finnish television.
Although Finnish crime fiction has yet to gain its rightful place within the current zeitgeist for Scandinavian crime fiction in English, it is overdue for serious consideration, and Joensuu is arguably its front-running exponent, even if only three of his books have so far been translated into English. As Paula Arvas has pointed out, Finnish crime fiction tends to differ from Swedish and other Scandinavian crime fiction in that criminals rather than detectives are frequently the main protagonists, and Priest of Evil is no exception, where a number of other characters get almost as much attention as Harjunpää. Locations are also particularly important in Joensuu’s work, and Priest of Evil is a particularly cartographic novel, as three bodies are found under trains at metro stations, and Helsinki’s metro system becomes the main grid by which the reader is oriented into this gothic narrative.
This paper explores Priest of Evil from a non-Finnish reader’s perspective.
(De Montfort University, UK)
From the First Modern Gay Novel to ‘the Film that Launched a Thousand Slashers’: Female Fan and Fanfiction Responses to ‘Maurice’
As part of a wider ongoing project exploring 21st-century internet fandom around Maurice – made by Merchant Ivory Productions as the second (lowest-budget, and riskiest) in their trio of film adaptations from E. M. Forster, between A Room With A View (1985) and Howards End (1992) – and comparable texts within the larger context of convergence-era media fandom, this paper focuses on 21st-century female fan discourses and practices around a canonic 20th-century queer text and their implications.
My paper proposes that useful connections can be drawn between Maurice’s place within 21st-century fan culture and facets of the earlier textual and reception history: notably, the novel’s private-circulation history and its other affinities with fanfiction; its critical demolition in terms that betrayed a horror of ‘feminine’ popular genres; the elusive alternate versions of both book and film; and the atemporal openness of Maurice’s happy ending.
Since 2004, more than 80 fan-authored Maurice fictions and sequels have been published online in English (and, since 2010, more than 30 in Russian). These works are of interest for the insights they offer into fan understandings of and investments in Maurice; for their solutions to a range of commonly perceived limitations of the novel and/or film; and, in some, for their consciously progressive extensions of Forster’s sexual politics and Utopian vision – as well as the Maurice/Alec pairing – into ‘the ever and ever that fiction allows’ (Forster, 1960/1999:216). A number of accomplished Maurice fanfictions expressly expand upon canon straight or queer female characters, or introduce new ones. Others, however, apply presumptions and tropes of the slash-fiction or yaoi (Japanese ‘boy-love’) genres to a gay male, already-queer, text with less progressive consequences.
(University of Turku, Department of Musicology, Finland)
Stalking – Violence Against Experience: Approaches to Stalking Representations in Audiovisual Art
Stalking is a new crime but old behaviour (Mullen, Pathé & Purcell 2000). Today criminalized in many western societies, stalking has not been acknowledged as violence or crime for long. Unlike many other crimes, stalking is defined through the experience of victim: stalking definition requires experience of fear (Mullen, Pathé & Purcell 2000, Nicol 2009).
To acknowledge stalking as a violent crime, our cultural understanding on what is violence and socially unacceptable has changed (Mullen, Pathé & Purcell 2000). As Lorenzo Magnani (2011) states in his recent study Understanding Violence, a common prejudice still is that violence requires violation towards someone’s body or property, or some other kind of physical violation. Stalking is an example of a violence that is regarded as a violent crime, yet physical assaults in stalking cases are relatively rare (Mullen, Pathé & Purcell 2000). Forensic psychologists Paul E. Mullen, Michel Pathé and Rosemary Purcell have recognized three discourses regarding stalking: 1) media discourse since 1980s, 2) legal discourse since 1990s, and 3) academic discourse following the previous two. In my paper I would like to concentrate on fourth discourse – audiovisual art discourse.
Film has recognized stalking as a violent act before beforementioned three discourses. In my paper I am discussing how stalking is represented as crime against experience in audiovisual art, especially film. Film has acknowledged stalking as fear inflicting experience in various stalking representations. Sound and music have an important role in mediating the stalking atmosphere. In my paper I will focus on sound and music of audiovisual art, using examples from stalking representations from the 1970s onwards.
(School of Language and Culture, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand)
Tintin as Metonym for the 20th Century: A Post-Situationist Reading
Viewed in retrospect, the cultural history of the Tintin franchise is a story of commodification that appears metonymic for key developments of the twentieth century, particularly in relation to capital and its increasing inextricability from mass media. The current article offers a post-Situationist reading of The Adventures of Tintin, building on notions of commodity fetishism (Marx, 1867) and postmodern spectacle (Debord, 1991; 1996). While Hollywood’s recent repackaging of Tintin for the supposed demands of a global audience may have seemed to mark the acme of Tintin’s incorporation into full-blown consumer spectacle, such tendencies – albeit with countertendencies – have been there from the beginning, conveniently pivoting, as I shall argue, around the mid-20 century. The decades prior to 1950 can usefully be viewed through the lens of Jonathan Crary’s re-reading of Guy’s Debord’s symbolic birthdate for the Society of the Spectacle: 1927. Jameson’s analysis of postmodern periodicity through the 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond supplies similar frames for the decades post-1950. I argue that Tintin’s progressive conscription into late capitalist spectacle reflects and reinforces this broader, periodized process of commercialization within intermeshing global culture flows, which Hergé both exploits and, paradoxically, stages acts of resistance against, culminating in the anomie of the final volumes and subsequent problematics in the transmedia adaptation, reception consumption of the franchise after Hergé’s death.
(University of Turku, Department of Cultural History, Finland)
From Countryside to Helsinki Suburbs: Images of Youth in Joutilaat (2001) and Hilton! Täällä ollaan elämä (2013)
During the past couple of years, the public debates about ‘marginalized’ youth have intensified in Finland. In these debates the criticized concept of marginalization is most often used in reference to uneducated and unemployed young people. Internationally these discussions are part of the European-wide social phenomena of youth unemployment and increasing economic segregation. In this presentation I will focus on cinematic commentaries on these young people in the Finnish context.
In Finland, there have been vivid discussions about the ‘new golden era of Finnish documentary film-making’ during the past years. Internationally, as the British film scholar Stella Bruzzi (2006) argues, the 1990s and the early 2000s meant a renewed popularity of documentaries in the cinema and the constant contesting of the boundaries between documentaries and fiction films. The most popular documentaries and box office hits have included several politically engaged works, especially the documentaries by American Michael Moore: Bowling for Columbine (2002) and Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004).
In this paper my focus is on two Finnish feature documentary films Joutilaat (Virpi Suutari & Susanna Helke 2001) and Hilton! Täällä ollaan elämä (Virpi Suutari 2013). In Joutilaat, the protagonists are four unemployed young men living in a small town in Eastern Finland. Hilton! focuses on a group of young unemployed adults who live in a tenement owned by a youth foundation in Eastern Helsinki. Through analyzing these two Finnish documentary films, I will consider the role of film in the contemporary political debates about young people.
(University of Turku, Department of Cultural History, Finland)
Matti Nykänen, a Great Man of Finland
This paper discusses the former ski-jumper as a national “Great Man” of Finland. Nykänen’s victories in sport are his grand achievements, but they are also considered to be a national treasure, one which belongs to all Finns. Nykänen’s presence after his career as a top athlete, in various roles transcending a mere celebrity, in the Finnish media and public consciousness is remarkable. There is something uniquely Finnish about him. This paper argues that Nykänen is a “Great Man” because of his continuing impact, as well as his multifaceted and complicated image, which on the one hand makes him special but on the other, makes him one of us. Nykänen is greatly admired but also laughed at. Nykänen’s position as a Finnish “Great Man” is defined by a subversive conflict between sublimity and banality.
(University of Helsinki, Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies)
The Defining Role of Popular Music in the Attainment of Freedom
Pop and rock became firmly established in the West as post-War restrictions were eased; the eastern bloc viewed this as a sign of a degenerate society. For the Moscow World Festival of Youth in 1957, jazz and western dance music was allowed in an attempt to demonstrate that the east was following the western mainstream music developments. However, as the West became more open the East closed.
Although protest songs have existed in many forms, it was their anti-war and anti-capitalist message that gave the 1960’s pop and rock music and punk culture of the 70’s a new significance. This did not go unnoticed in the East. Singers such as Vysotsky in Russia and Kubišová in Czechoslovakia made in-roads into the minds and souls of their countrymen.
The nearer a country was to the West, the greater was the influence. It was pop music around the Berlin Wall that initially shocked the authorities at the power of pop. The protesters in Prague in 1989 jangled their keys in protest at the regime recalling Kubišová’s song “Ring-o-ding” with its message of opening doors. The importance of rock was underlined by the Ukrainian singer Vika: “Rock is not only music, it’s a social phenomenon. It is a way of thinking”. It was at the protest rally in Kyiv at fraudulent elections that rock, pop and rap came to the fore. The rap “Together we are many” became the theme of the Orange Revolution. Information concerning protest concerts was distributed via the internet and mobile phones.
This paper will show that although music has been used as a political platform, the mobility of protest music through today’s technology can lead to rapid mass public movements and through a medium that repressive regimes are not able to totally control.
(Independent scholar, UK)
Skyfall: Bond and the Neglectful M(other)
Skyfall shows its main character besotted by death. Bond is a zombie, half-dead, with little of his familiar traits of sex, enjoyment of luxury and masculine infallibility apparent. We are shown a joyless seduction of a former sex-worker (resulting in her death); the villain’s secret lair is a desolate former industrial complex on an evacuated island. Most radical of all, Bond’s body is broken, damaged to an extent never previously seen. Bond’s nihilism is a regression, in the psychodynamic sense, to the oral stage and symptomatic of his anger towards M. She is the Kleinian ‘bad mother’, one half of the ‘split’ that the infant conceptualises to explain the inadequacy of the mother in meeting his needs, fantasizing his revenge in terms of oral aggression. M fails to protect her figurative sons – both Bond, who is shot (by a woman), and the effete villain Silva, a former agent of the crown given up by M to the Chinese. It is this abandonment, and subsequent torture, that has caused his perversity and his renunciation of the phallic. Silva is fixated at the oral stage, shown in the story of cannibalistic rats he tells Bond, in his failed self-poisoning, and his perverse attachment to M(other). Thus, Silva can be considered Bond’s shadowy counterpart: both are ‘attacked’ by the bad mother; both desire their revenge. It may be Silva who succeeds in killing the mother, but it is equally the phantastical wish-fulfilment of the hero.
(University of Turku, Department of Cultural History, Finland)
Matti and the Endless Stories of Drinking
This paper analyses the alcohol discourses surrounding Matti Nykänen. It is well known that the former ski-jumper and present-day celebrity leads quite a reckless life of alcohol abuse. This is a continual theme in the Finnish popular media concerning “Matti”. Although these are typical tabloid stories, they might reveal much more about the relationship between Finnish culture and alcohol.
The Finnish State has a long tradition of controlling the alcohol use of its citizens. As Finnish historian Matti Peltonen (1988) has observed, Finland’s alcohol policy exposed a strong polarity between attitudes of the authorities and the folk. Consequently, for some people the use of alcohol became a symbol of freedom. This could be observed in Finnish oral folklore and in certain products of popular culture. Could the tabloid stories of hard-drinking Matti be seen as a continuation of this tradition? The aim of this paper is to compare these settings of folklore and popular stories with contemporary stories of Matti.
(Lancaster University, UK)
‘That Worm between Your Legs Does Half Your Thinking’: Defining Power Relations through Gender and Sex in A Song of Ice and Fire
George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series and the HBO television series A Game of Thrones, inspired by the novels, have become quite popular in Europe recently. This paper examines how the novels define power relations through gender and sexual identity in order to articulate some of the problems with these identifications within our own culture. In particular, I will be exploring the complex character of Cersei Lannister and her relationship with several people in the novels. Being born the female half of a male twin, Cersei comprehends that the men in the novel are granted more power due to their gender. Yet, Cersei views sexuality as a way to gain power over men. Accordingly, she often wishes that she was born a man, while at the same time scorning the gender for being easily led by their sexual organs. Cersei’s sexuality is further complicated as her offspring are fathered by her male twin. By the end of the fifth novel, it becomes apparent that Cersei sees her motherhood as a thing of monstrosity. Daenerys Targaryen, in contrast, is a strong female character, but she defines her strength and identity through her male relations, specifically through her maternity. As a foil to Cersei, I will also be examining such characters as Varys, Arya Stark, Lady Stark, Tyrion Lannister and Jamie Lannister.
(Istanbul University, Turkey)
Media Coverage of Violent Events about Children
The 21st century is becoming more and more complex through the developments of media, civilization and democracy. On the one hand, the ‘Democracy Education’ and ‘Media Literacy’ programs are established and better qualified citizens of the world were granted. But on the other hand, the world is standing in the middle of a security crisis.
On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza, age 20, fatally shot twenty children and six adult staff members and wounded two at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the village of Sandy Hook in the town of Newtown, Connecticut. According to the news, before driving to the school, Lanza had shot and killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, at their Newtown home. After killing students and staff members, Lanza committed suicide by shooting himself in the head as first responders arrived. However, this was not much different from Breivik killing 77 victims in Norway Massacre and saying he was defending Norway from multiculturalism.
This paper aims to reveal the ‘facts’ regarding the media coverage and how the events were reflected in the national and international media. These two events bring up the question of concepts of democracy again, especially, regarding the security issues such as the freedom of buying guns and the results.
Pickering Joanne Louise
(London College of Fashion, University of the Arts, UK)
Class and Cabaret – The London Burlesque Scene of the 21st Century and How It Is Obsessed with the 20th
As a consistently working performer of vintage dance styles on the London cabaret scene for the past 10 years, I have had first-hand experience of the recent revival of burlesque and variety generally in London clubs. Burlesque, originally a term for theatrical parody, has become, since the Victorian era and through trans-Atlantic cross-fertilization, synonymous with a genre of striptease distinguished by a vaudevillian flavour. The use of retro styling and content, common in burlesque performance seems to be one of the features that, for critics, audiences and performers differentiates ‘burlesque’ from the ‘stripping’ performed simultaneously in many other London venues.
This paper aims to investigate how these judgments are linked to social status and how far the cultural capital (Bourdieu) – or subcultural capital (Thornton) – required to value the quirks and postmodern irony of burlesque performances, may or may not remove these acts from the realms of “poor taste” and the subordinate end of gendered power relations.
Attracting large female audiences, burlesque shares with fashion photography and pop music the paradox that whilst it certainly toys with and teases the boundaries of gender, it attracts a mainly heterosexual crowd and yet, presents the female body as erotic spectacle for the viewing pleasure of, or ‘vampiristic’ (Diana Fuss) consumption by, those, often straight, women. Diana Fuss’ ideas about the homospectatorial gaze and fashion are adapted to analyse the recent history of the specific London scene considered, where performers are of course in far more control of what is presented to their audience, but whose renderings of womanliness can simultaneously deconstruct and reproduce femininities forged in relation to the dominant male gaze.
Burlesque will also be placed in the wider context of a popular culture that is obsessed with its recent past, or suffering from what Simon Reynolds calls “Retromania”. This tendency to look backwards serves multiple functions, it is argued, including the opportunity to digest identities that have been in perpetual and, in some senses, speedy transition over the previous century – as well as the aforementioned cultural knowledge and connoisseurship that creates a ‘vintage’ out of what was previously common.
While gender identity is much meditated upon by writers engaged with performance and visual culture, the concern here is how bawdy vaudeville being elevated to an object of middle class appreciation has the potential to illuminate the subtle intertwinings of gender and class.
(Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Slovenia)
Computer and Post-Socialist Memories: ‘Children of Socialism’ Make Contact with ‘Western’ Computer Technology
Through analysis of memories of computers, encounters with and uses of computer technology in the1980s Yugoslavia, the paper discusses the then kids’ relationship to the world, i.e. their understanding of the world and themselves in the 1980s socialist Yugoslavia, and today. The paper interrogates the hypothesis that contact with computers and computer games influenced kids’ perception of self in socialism and that the use of computers then influenced their lives later on (in post-socialism). In light of this, the analysis focuses on their understanding and valuation of socialism, Yugoslavia, the break-up of the country, the present and the past, democracy, nationalism, freedom, technology. Importantly, the analysis focuses on the connection between “exposure” to the “West” via computer technology and the respondents’ perception of the other, i.e. multiculturality.
The author argues that the contact with the computer technology and western world (ideas, consumerism, “freedom,” popular culture, etc.) precisely through “inscription” of the self into the global importantly influenced the perception and “retro-perception” of “children of socialism.” Concomitantly he argues that this experience became one of the key determinants of generations that became the “victim and perpetrator” of the 1990s (and onwards) digitisation of everything and the protagonist of disenchantment of post-socialism.
The analysis is based on interviews with people who in the incriminated period had contact with computer technology.
(University of Turku, Department of Musicology, Finland)
The Case of Pessi and Illusia – Same Narrative, Different Musical Choices
The aim of my PhD is to map out narrative strategies of film music in fairy tale films for children with close reading and analysis, and see if these strategies have changed over the years. Under my analysing scope is a selection of Finnish children’s films which were made between the years 1949 and 2004. Screenplays of these films are based on existing literature and their dramatic arch is quite similar, but they vary in their musical choices. Therefore they are fruitful material for comparison.
In this representation I will be introducing the preliminary results of my analysis of two films with a same script. The tale in question is Pessi and Illusia written by Yrjö Kokko. It tells the survival and love story of Pessi, a pixie and Illusia, a fairy. The two films were filmed years apart: in 1954 by Jack Witikka and in 1983 by Heikki Partanen. The first rests musically on a ballet with the same name which was composed by Ahti Sonninen, and later one has a compiled soundtrack including music from composers Jean Sibelius and Kari Rydman.
The questions that I will be answering are for instance: Will these two soundtracks highlight different aspects of the fairy tale? What kind of functions does music have in these films? How coherent is the relationship of other aspects of the soundtrack to music? Do the soundtracks use different narrative strategies in the immersion process of an audio-viewer? Are the degree and the character of synchronisation the same in both films?
(University of Helsinki, Finland)
Silencing the Music: Estonian Jazz during the Cultural Rupture in the Late 1940s
This article on Soviet Estonian jazz history demonstrates how jazz as a musical and cultural form was gradually extinguished from the public musical arena between 1944 and 1950. Those years mark a period of the lowest political tolerance jazz has ever experienced in its entire Soviet Estonian history. Jazz, perceived as the purest representative of Western values, was proclaimed by Zhdanov to be hysterical and cacophonous, and consequently gained the status of a non-tolerated form of music in the Soviet cultural landscape. The gradual silencing of the music occurred in Estonia hand-in-hand with the process of Sovietization. By applying the perspective of cultural rupture, the study investigates the dynamic of ‘silencing’ of jazz as it appeared in two socio-cultural spheres in parallel. On the one hand, I demonstrate how the gradually constricting political situation led to the complete prohibition of jazz in the public sphere: how jazz was discussed in the public media, in party decrees and newspaper articles and what political decisions were taken concerning the music. On the other hand, I investigate how musicians reacted to the situation and how they adapted to the changes imposed ‘from above’.
(York University, Department of Humanities, Canada)
‘Thunder Perfect Mind’: The Gnostic Flaneur Does Berlin
Prada’s first perfume was promoted with a short film in 2005 directed by Jordan Scott in which Canadian supermodel Daria Werbowy flaneurs through a Berlin cityscape in the shadow of permanent construction – the ceaseless motion of an urban flow of cranes, stairwells, escalators, subways, bridges, taxis, and encounters with the shifting shapes of humans that appear to be familiar, are maybe just mirrors, mirages or memories. The protagonist is constantly exposed to views of her former and future self, but she takes the multiplication of identities produced by the urban experience literally in stride, joins the flow, picks herself up when she stumbles, learns to walk the walk of the city and to dance to its rhythms. What anchors her, transcends the accelerated rhythms of montaged city-time, is the permanence of the book, of an ancient gnostic poem whose recitation reverberates, penetrates and rhythmically structures the sound of the city. Coming to terms with the paradoxical effects of the material manifestations of urban time cinematically transcends intellectual comprehension. Instead, it hearkens back to ancient esoteric (and musealized) knowledge, bricolaged lines of poetry culled from the eponymous identity riddle that was found on gnostic scrolls dating back to the third century. In the popular imaginary, the experience of modern European urbanity defies identity and certainty, and the transcendent whole can only be comprehended through the union of dualities – a thoroughly apposite metaphor for the imaginary of a cityscape that continues to manifest the many contradictions of its histories. This paper builds on the author’s contribution to World Film Locations Berlin to explore some of the popular memes that connect Berlin as a paradigm of the 21st century European city with a subcutaneous strand of popular mysticism that forms a crucial semiotic reservoir for popular culture’s negotiation of contemporary urban life.
(University of Turku, Department of Musicology, Finland)
Towards an Ecology of Close(r) Reading in Popular Music Studies
This paper considers the theme of audible futures from the perspective of the emerging field of ecomusicology. Drawing on the literary ecocriticism of Greg Garrard and the ecomedia criticism of Sean Cubitt, I argue that ecocriticism of music (ecomusicology) should be defined more as a critical perspective, like feminism and Marxism, than being defined exclusively in terms of its subject matter. It is further defined as a form of future consciousness that examines the relationship between the human and the non-human. I start by considering the relationship between so-called ecological methods and ecocritical research, arguing that it is more complex than previous research has indicated. To approach music research ecologically is to question the distinction between text and context, as well as interrogate the textual bias in both of those terms. What is required is even closer ‘reading’ in the Geertzian sense of ‘thick description’ – or to be more accurate, writing – in which the phenomenal qualities of experiences emerge alongside historical awareness. Ethnography offers one pathway to this level of understanding; however, closer analysis of media materials offers an alternative to this take on ecological methods. I offer two case studies to illuminate my argument: Mikolaj Gackowski’s Gangnam Style without Music (2012) and the Sigur Rós song Heysátan from the film Heima (2007). Both songs are analysed using Maurice Halbwachs’s notion of collective memory and theories from research on digital culture combined with Henri Lefebvre’s ideas about the social construction of space. In both examples, transformed and expanded sonic spaces are understood as offering alternatives to the ‘abstracted spaces’ or ‘spaces of flows’ of hypermodernity.
(University of Turku, Department of Media Studies, Finland)
Youth Road Movie as Idealization of Middle-Class Society
Road movie is a genre which tests the boundaries of society. It is a genre of resistance and rebellious behavior. Road movie position is symptomatic particularly in youth films, where going against the norms of society and parental guidance are the basic subject. Who can afford to leave behind their parents’ economically secure world? And why are young people leaving or, more precisely, why are they sent on the road in the movies?
The paper focuses on class society in 2000s Finland depicted in August (Elokuu, 2011), a road movie by young Finnish director Oskari Sipola. The film tells a story of August, who falls almost obsessively for an unknown girl and gives her ride to her home far away from Helsinki. While August escapes the capital city and his wealthy Finland-Swedish upper middle-class home, he jumps on the road to economically polarized nation. On his aimless journey he contacts with and adapts to members of classes and areas lower than his bourgeois home and capital city centered background.
The movement in road movie usually gives the protagonist a sense of freedom and leads to a new kind of understanding of one’s relations with values of society. The sense of freedom and changing understanding of the world is connected to the resistance which is always regulated. Reflecting on Jonathan Beller’s (2006) arguments on attention economy and the society of the spectacle, and Henry Giroux’s (2009; 2012) critical views on politics of neoliberalism, I analyze the August as a road movie and ask how mainstream cinema as ideological vehicle control and regulate young wanderer’s thoughts, values and attitudes. Does the young resistance lead to a different world, or is it shown as something that must be controlled in order to sustain the societal standards of middle-class way of life.
(University of Tampere, Research Centre for Journalism, Media and Communication, Finland)
The Aftermath of the Second World War in the Finnish Men’s Magazines from the 1940s to the 1970s
In this paper I discuss men’s magazines as counter publics (Warner) during the cold war decades in Finland. The paper is based on the ongoing research project “Addressing male citizens. Porn, Politics and Empowerment in the Finnish Men’s Magazines from 1940s to 1980s”, funded by the Academy of Finland (2012-2015). The paper focuses on the aftermath of the Second World War from the 1940s to the 1970s. One of the popular topics was the brother in arms relationship with Hitler’s Germany during the Continuation War (1941-1944). The reminiscence concerned subjects neglected elsewhere in the public sphere during the time: the SS-training of the Finnish Officers in Germany, memories of Adolf Hitler visiting Finland in 1944 and the manifold anecdotes, stories and memories of the Finnish war veterans. Men’s magazines served thus as alternative public spaces where the histories and experiences of those obligated to remain silent could be circulated.
(University of Paris 8 Saint-Denis, Department of Musicology, France)
Introduction to the Music of Norwegian Keyboardist Bugge Wesseltoft and the Emergence of the European Electro-Jazz
Norwegian keyboardist Bugge Wesseltoft has brought from the end of the 1990s until today a very personal and new sound to jazz music. More generally, Scandinavian musicians have mixed traditional music aspects of jazz with a large use of electronic material with an aesthetic that strongly reminds the North European atmosphere, culture and even lands. This particular ambiance has been described as the “Idea of the North.” The intense use of electronic sound samples, electronic sounds, and the post-production works, has been seen as a new musical genre called the electro jazz. Bugge Wesseltoft included in his works influences from the European musical dancefloor (trip hop, drum and bass, jungle, ambient…). Most of the compositions reveal a balance between a very ethereal atmosphere and a more dynamic interpretation. In most of the cases, the ethereal ambiance is created by using very slow tempos, the Dorian mode, for example, and effects such as reverb, echo… The rhythmical patterns from the dancefloor scene give an important energy to the compositions that can remind musical pieces from dance clubs. This is one of the aspects that helped the electro jazz to become a popular jazz genre. Because of the inclusion of the dancefloor rhythmic patterns, an audience close to the dance, electronic music clubs went to electro jazz concerts and was surprised by this new and fresh energy. The jazz audience saw through those compositions a new expression for jazz music.
I will proceed in the paper with the review of the musician Bugge Wesseltoft, the musical analysis of his composition Change, and the exploration of how this aesthetic approach has contributed to the emergence of electro jazz. Change was recorded in 2001 in the Moving album. Almost every aesthetical aspect, as well as the album cover, of the disc resembles the electronic scene, as the electronic sounds and samples are intensely used. “New Conception of Jazz” is Bugge Wesseltoft’s concept and it reveals how his aesthetical approach and compositions tend to create new sounds, a new way of playing jazz.
(University of Turku, Department of Cultural History, Finland)
The Finnish Eagle and the Culture of Sport in Finland, 1982-1992
Matti Nykänen was one of the most successful Finnish athletes of the 1980s, but he was also a controversial figure who became a celebrity and a regular protagonist of the tabloid press. When Nykänen was sent home from the Four Hills Tournament in 1986, the news agency Reuters reported that Nykänen had “been recalled because he was ‘unruly and unsuitable for the Finnish team.’” My paper examines the rise of Nykänen’s sporting career, his changing media relationship and asks what the destinies of the popular sporting hero can tell us about cultural change in Finland at the end of the Cold War era.
(University of Turku, Department of Cultural History, Finland)
Violence and Cultural Encounters in the Films ‘Children of Men’ (2006) and ‘Africa Paradis’ (2006)
Increased global movement, such as tourism, migration and refugee flows, has in the recent decades multiplied different cultural encounters. Cultural interaction has in the early 21st century been manifested both as peaceful exchange of cultural influences, but also as violent conflicts between different groups, such as wars, terrorism and riots.
This paper studies representations of violence in the context of cultural encounters in two science fiction films made in the early 21st century: Africa Paradis (Sylvestre Amoussou, 2006, Benin/France) and Children of men (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006, UK/USA). Both films deal with themes of immigration. In Africa Paradis year 2033 Africa has become a wealthy federal state, the United States of Africa, which has to deal with immigration flows from impoverished Europe, and in Children of Men year 2027 global chaos has led to massive immigration to Great Britain, which has closed its borders, deporting illegal immigrants residing in the country or shutting them to a huge refugee camp. In addition to observing both the representation and role of violence in these films, in my paper I also consider possible connections between the fictional violence represented in the films and the real-life violence that has taken place in the context of cultural encounters in the early 21st century when the films were made.
(University of Oklahoma, Department of English, USA)
Modernism as Gesture: Popular Music and the Performative Arts
In my recent book, Modernism and Popular Music (Cambridge 2011), I make the suggestion, which I learned from examining the significant difference between traditional musicology and recent work in the study of popular music, that modernist intellectual and artistic disciplines contain a family resemblance in relation to performativity. “The existence of performance as the primary modality of popular music,” I note in the Preface to that book, “underscores the performativity of modernist art forms – and, indeed, of the ‘modernist’ intellectual disciplines such as literary criticism, psychoanalysis, semiotics, ordinary-language philosophy – more generally” (2011: xi). Richard Middleton in his book Studying Popular Music offered me the starting point for this understanding, which was barely touched upon in my book. This is why I want to begin taking up the theme and theory of performativity in earnest in this presentation. In this talk, I examine the theory of gesture – as it is pursued in psychology, anthropology, as well as literary studies and popular music – in order to describe an important theoretical base for the systematic study of popular music. To this end I engage with János Maróthy, Stephen Mithen, Richard Middleton in their studies of music, as well as others – Walter Benjamin, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Shoshana Felman, Mikhail Bakhtin in their meditations of the power of performance in art – in order to describe a material performative sense of art in general, and the material performativity of popular music in particular. In fact, it is just a sense of the essential performativity of art that the popular art forms – and particularly popular music – can teach the humanities.
(University of Alberta, Department of Modern Language and Cultural Studies, Canada)
Film to Fashion: ‘Anna Karenina’ circa 2012
Film to Fashion: Anna Karenina Circa 2012 discusses fashion inspired by cinematic adaptations of literary classics. In particular, the paper addresses Joe Wright’s critically acclaimed film Anna Karenina (2012), based on Leo Tolstoy’s novel, and its impact on the fashion industry around the world. Starring Keira Knightly and Jude Law, this film inspired major fashion brands (Alexander McQueen, Chanel), as well as prominent retailers (Banana Republic, Zara). In addition to creating costumes for the film, the Oscar-winning British designer Jacqueline Durran (Atonement; Pride & Prejudice) curated the Anna Karenina collection for Banana Republic. According to Durran, they “took Tolstoy’s 1870s silhouette, but simplified the details, so it had the simplicity of 50’s couture” (British Glamour, October 2012). There was “one scene [in the film],” Durran explains, where they “remained faithful to the literature” – the famous ball, to which Anna wore her striking black dress. Citing evidence provided by various fashion magazines (Glamour, Vogue, Flare), the paper traces the peculiar itinerary of Anna Karenina’s black dress – from Tolstoy’s novel to Joe Wright’s film, to the runways of major designer labels, and finally to mainstream fashion. I argue that the Karenina-inspired fashion at once undermines and sustains the sense of Russian urbanity as described in Tolstoy. Commenting the role of fashion in film, Wim Wenders argues: “Clothes indicate the temperature of a picture, the date, the time of day, time of war, or time of peace.”
(Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Czech Republic)
‘From Closeted Deviants to School Teachers.’ Lesbian and Gay Characters in Contemporary Czech TV Series
In my paper I will introduce gay and lesbian characters and their stories which appeared in original Czech TV drama series since 1990. With qualitative content analysis (e.g. Mayring, or Mikos & Wegener (eds.)) I analysed all gay and lesbian characters with significant roles in stories that were present in such series since the 1990s. Although I analysed the majority of episodes where such characters appeared, in my first analysis of the topic in 2008 I focused –aside from the general characteristics of the very character – on three distinctive dramatic and dramaturgical moments: the introduction of the character, the introduction of its non-heterosexuality to the story, and the disappearance or disposal of the character from the series plot. The analysis of these three moments led to a conclusion that could be very briefly summarized as “the only drama of coming-out, and then out”.
As time passed and new series were produced, new characters – stable in the story and openly gay/lesbian – were introduced. This situation led to the addition of a new, fourth area of analytical interest. I focused on all distinctive moments in the story where the character’s non-heterosexuality was actualized. The “quality” of: when, how and why it happened, was subjected to further analysis (open coding, categorization and search for relationships and intersections) and interpretation. The findings will be introduced at the conference. My analysis and interpretations will be framed by the theories that are connected (A) with the media genre (soap operas) (i.e. Ang, Brundson, Modleski), discussing Czech specifics (i.e. Reifová), and (B) with non-heterosexuality in our culture (such as heteronormativity, essentialization, androcentrism, or the (inverted) gendering of homosexuality (i.e. Kimmel, Plummer, Connell)).
(University of Szczecin, Poland)
POP Nomads and In-Betweens in Hanif Kureishi’s Films
The paper investigates the links between the representation of ethnic identities and POP globalization in the context of postcolonial framework. Special attention will be given to the principles of connection, heterogeneity, multiplicity, that mark the structures of British multicultural society. In this context, the discussion goes on to interrogate the ways in which the concept of nomadic identity within the liquid societies has been redefined by popular culture.
As I will argue, the characters from My Beautiful Launderette and My Son the Fanatic, the films based on the scenarios and short stories by Hanif Kureishi, are contemporary nomads struggling to find a secure sense of self, place and identity in the world dominated by popular imagery. Their contact with diasporas results in a constant sense of misidentification and displacement, contributing to the state of what Hoami K. Bhabha calls “in-betweenness”. This is the state of interbeing that enables the protagonists to move across gendered, classed and racial borders.
(University of Eastern Finland, Finland)
Strong Independent Femininity – Girls’ Popular Culture Links with Feminism in Finnish Context
Girl power culture uses a neoliberal language of choice, giving girls and women a sense that they can choose what they want to do and be in their lives. Originally, the women’s subcultural punk movement riot grrrl strategically reclaimed the word ‘girl’ and later in the 1990s, Girl Power became a commercialized and mainstream cultural phenomenon. Numerous new magazines, TV-series, movies, books, artists and bands were launched for a certain target group: teenage girls.
The girl power culture shows different girl and women representations from well-behaved little girls to tough career women and action heroines that can be seen as feminist characters. One entire generation has now grown up with these kinds of culture images and, as a result, partial gender equality has already been achieved. I am interested to find out how girl power as a part of post-feminism deals with the discussions of the future of feminism, generation differences, and, in the Finnish context, the negotiations with the Scandinavian national equality.
I look into the “female gallery” in popular culture asking how it has affected women’s ideas about their experiences of growing up. Using the oral history data collected in memory work group interviews among Finnish women born in the 1980s, I examine how the girl power phenomenon is linked with feminist ideas and how young women see popular culture as empowering in terms of feminist agenda.
(University of Turku, Department of Musicology, Finland)
Ecological Utopias in Progressive Rock
This paper discusses the role of ecological utopias in the progressive rock of the 1970s. Like Hegarty and Halliwell (2011) have pointed out, nature was rarely a sustained utopia in progressive rock. Indeed, seeing nature as a better (pastoral) alternative for urban environments characterizes the genre more than, for example, concerns about the future of the natural environment itself. This paper aims at asking how and to what extent can progressive rock be seen and heard as an ecologically critical musical genre. Furthermore, to what extent did the utopias found in the prog of the 1970s predict today’s environmental concerns? How do we experience these utopias today? Can music in general predict essential features of future societies and cultures like e.g. Attali and Bloch claimed? Can anything represent (in any sense of the word) something that is not-yet present (the future)? This paper adopts a music philosophical (phenomenological) and ecomusicological approach.
(University of Gothenburg, Department of Languages and Literature, Sweden)
Popular Culture and the English Language
For many second-language students, the scholarly study of language is more or less restricted to the study of usage, vocabulary, and grammatical form as it is illustrated in so-called ‘standard English’. Though this is a useful and necessary approach to language study in most EFL (English as a Foreign Language) situations, this ‘standardized’ approach can give the false impression that English is monolithic and rigid, while at the same time it excludes much of the normal social and regional dialect variation which is prevalent in the English speaking world.
Moreover, the traditional approach often ignores important aspects of the actual use of English by EFL students. For example ‘passive’ English language situations like watching TV, listening to music, surfing the internet, etc, are generally the most common form of contact with English rather than the ‘active’ use of the language in written and oral situations (see, for example, Priesler 1999, Trotta 2010). This relationship not only provides viewers/ listeners with a model for imitation (cf. Stuart-Smith 2005 & 2007; Pennycook 2007), it can also play a significant role in the ways in which knowledge and values are constructed and mediated. In addition, in the performance of students’ subcultural identities (e.g. hip-hopper, metalhead, skater, punk, computer nerd, etc.), English often has central culture bearing function which emphasizes the ‘symbolic capital’ of both English and Popular Culture within the group.
In this presentation on Popular Culture and the English Language, I discuss the relevance of studying the English language (for both students and researchers) as it is encountered in popular media such as film, TV, the internet, music, etc. The talk covers some of the main results from selected case studies (e.g. Trotta 2010, Trotta & Blyahher, Trotta & Danielsson 2011) as well as touching on a broad range of topics such as: the politics of ‘standard’ English; the performance of identity; discourse as social practice; the influence of English on a global level; media representations of non-standard dialects; the negotiation of identity in selected subcultures; and the ways in which the popular media help to create and/or promote certain ways of thinking about social variables such as ethnicity, gender, and social class.
(University of Turku; University of Tampere, Finland)
Interactive, Participatory, Social – The 21st Century Television
The process of digitalization has detached television content from the television screen. Nowadays, popular TV programs are multi- and cross-media projects that are not restricted to the television (Simmons 2009; Ytreberg 2009; Tuomi 2010). Television viewing has fragmented to several platforms; the possibilities to connect with TV have expanded greatly, which elicits new uses of TV & audience behaviors. This means a lot changes also in the fields of TV and audience research. The focus of the research is no longer on the mass consumption; on the contrary, it has shifted to study audience as individuals. In the presentation three phases of 21st century’s television are conveyed and it will elaborate on this development especially through the eyes of the audience. The study will cover approximately ten years of recent TV history, 2000-2012.
Interactivity, participation and sociality are features that characterize today’s TV. At first the TV watching experience is analyzed trough interactive elements and the focus is on the SMS-based iTV-entertainment. The second analysis elaborates on the features of Web 2.0 and the dimensions it brought to the TV watching experience concentrating on the participatory online features (basically on different websites, blogs, discussion forums and such) that became more common around the years 2008-2010. The third concentrates purely on social media (e.g. Facebook & Twitter), its features and what this has brought to the TV watching. The study bases on audience research theories, TV watching experience and interactivity. The research material covers, for example, taped iTV-formats, media observations around Web 2.0 and Tweet-analyses of TV based Twitter conversations. The three phases will be represented more or less through different case studies in order to combine both theoretical and actual steps of television’s development together (through media convergences as well as content).
(University of Turku, Department of Musicology, Finland)
Social and Environmental Critique in Contemporary Finnish Hip Hop
Environmentalist or eco-critical hip hop can be considered a sub-genre of political hip hop that addresses ecological topics, such as global warming, pollution, food security, species extinction, and elimination of the traditional way of life of indigenous peoples. Moreover, it contemplates the role of music and musicians in building an ecologically sustainable way of life, e.g., by developing community-based and educational activities. Often eco-critical themes are combined with other socially critical themes of political hip hop, such as civil rights movements (from Black nationalism to various ethno-political people’s movements), anarchism, class struggle, and questions of globalization, multiculturalism and postmodern politics in general.
In my paper, I explore Finnish eco-critical hip hop, which mixes transnational politics to local issues, such as the geography and social problems of a sparsely populated Northern country, and the ancient Finnish and Sámi folk music traditions. I will concentrate on one of the most popular and critically awarded Finnish rappers, Paleface (b. 1978), and, in particular, his recent albums Helsinki–Shangri-La (2010) and Maan tapa (“The Way of the Land”, 2012). Methodologically the paper draws on eco-musicology and cultural music analysis, in order to investigate the kind of relationship between humanity and environment the music in question constructs or evokes (cf., Morris 1998; Rehding 2002; Toliver 2004; Torvinen 2012).
(Northumbria University, UK)
‘Beryl Reid Says… Good Evening’: Performing Queer Identity on British Television
Beryl Reid (1919-1996) was a British actor whose career stretched from the music hall to film. She had a number of high-profile roles in television drama, including Connie in the BBC’s production of John le Carre’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley’s People, for which she won a BAFTA. This paper examines Reid’s performance of queer identities; most famously as the title character in The Killing of Sister George (1968), a grim rendering of a transgenerational relationship that was groundbreaking for its explicit representation of lesbian desire. Rather than her roles in drama, however, the paper focusses on Reid’s long career in television comedy, including her 1968 series Beryl Reid Says… Good Evening, where she created a series of scenarios and long-running character sketches that satirised the strictures of heterosexuality. In her comedy character work Reid lampoons normative sexuality and gender roles, deploying costume, regional accents and physical theatre to undercut the naturalisation of straight, white, middle class society.
Woźniak Wojciech and Rek-Woźniak Magdalena
(Institute of Sociology, University of Lodz, Poland)
‘How Do You Know He’s the King?’: British Class Society and Class Consciousness as Portrayed in Works and Lives of the Pythons
Monty Python Flying Circus was not just a cultural phenomenon paving the way for the crucial change in the world of TV entertainment. It was also an important mirror in which the social and cultural stratification of British society, as well as the ongoing process of structural changes, has been reflected. Long lasting tradition of depicting British social relations in terms of class analysis has never been limited to the sociological circles in academia. It was present in numerous artistic visions of engaged authors. This is also clearly visible in the Pythons’ series. Being educated in Oxbridge, but coming from various personal social backgrounds, Pythons were clearly aware of the class divisions inherent to British society, as well as of their own privileged status.
In the proposed paper we will make an attempt to show the most important characteristics of the sociological insight into class relations in British society of the 1970s as it is presented in the series. The idea is to show that using visual arts instead of instrumentarium belonging to sociological craft, Pythons succeeded in presenting a coherent and comprehensive vision of the social stratification, namely: interrelations between classes, class consciousness, social inequalities and social distribution of power within society. Pythons tried also to deconstruct some stereotypical representations of social order, providing serious critique of the social reality. While being rebellious towards some traditional elements of hierarchies (i.e. religion), it seems at the same time that their attitudes to social system in the UK was never fully anarchistic and remained rooted in the values of their own middle-class environment.
The paper will be based on the analysis of TV shows and movies produced by the Monty Python group, supplemented with large amount of biographical data provided by the biographies and autobiographies of the Pythons, as well as documentaries on the Flying Circus phenomenon.
(Anadolu University, Department of Journalism, Turkey)
Olympos Tree Houses as a Popular Culture Product: A Survey Conducted on Domestic Tourist Respondents
Although defined, in a sense, as the low folk culture, popular culture is not folk culture, anymore. It is not mass culture, either. The most popular and consumed of mass culture is popular culture. This study is based on a survey conducted in Olympos Tree Houses holiday resort in order to identify production, content and consumption dimension of popular culture. Modern day Olympos forms a part of the Olympos-Bey Mountains National Park appurtenant to the city of Antalya and comprising Turkey’s southern coast. In the past, people had summer pasture camps in Turkey. Now, they go on holiday to Olympos Tree Houses. The difference is that summer pasture camps are part of local/folk culture whereas Olympos Tree Houses form popular culture. Olympos Tree Houses are not only nationwide but also worldwide famous and many domestic and foreign tourists come here for holiday. The aim of the study is to determine how Olympos Tree Houses are presented as a popular culture product, what happens at the consumption level, and what the relationship of the two is.
In the survey, a study group of 120 people has been formed. 120 is an adequate number in terms of the purpose, and enough data to form an opinion have been gathered. The data have been evaluated in SPSS program. In accordance with the aim of the study, the mean, median, and mode values of questions are taken.
The result of the study shows that popular culture is produced, presented with certain content and consumed by people with pleasure. If, one wonders, Olympos Tree Houses were not so popular, would there be such a demand?