Musical States: How governments make music and music makes governments

Speakers: Professor John Street, Assoc. Professor Shane Homan and Dr Lesley Pruitt. 7 September 2016.


Places are often known by, and for, their distinctive musical sounds and associations. Is this just a coincidence or is there an explanation for it? This discussion, led by Professor John Street, will explore this phenomenon as a product of politics. Is it as true for Melbourne as it is for Liverpool or Nashville? The panellists will question how and why governments differ in their role and effect in making places more or less musical. This is not always done through obvious ways, such as censorship or propaganda, but also through everyday regulation such as copyright, tariffs, and licensing.

Music also shapes governments, not just through the conventional protest song, but through its association with particular forms of political activity and intervention. From questioning the understanding of the Pussy Riot punk protest in Moscow to considering how popular culture affects national and international politics, Professor Street and the panel will explore the intersection of music and power in the emerging field the 'political science of music'.