Standardisation and the Sound of Music

cims-o.jpgResearcher(s) (CIMS)

Carlos Roos

Supervisors (CIMS)

Daniel Biltereyst

Co-Supervisors (CIMS)

Sofie Van Bauwel

Co-Supervisors (other)

Karl Verstrynge (VUB)

Funded by

Erasmus Mundus Action 2 VECCEU Project


This project revolves around popular music as a global phenomenon on the levels of discourse and practice. The research focuses on the form and meaning of the musical material and its rapport with everyday experience at the dawn of the 21st century. It is argued that the ontological key to popular music lies in the dialectics between formal attributes and societal dynamics, viz. between text and context. Therefore, this inquiry unfolds at the nexus of musical critique and cultural theory in the broadest sense.

The approach above is based on a combination of disciplines across the humanities and the social sciences. In this vein, mediatisation theory, political economy and philosophical aesthetics, among others, stand out as the foundations of the project. Yet the enterprise is orchestrated on the basis of Adornian critical theory, in terms of the dialectical reasoning at work and the emphasis on speculative theorisation above empirical analysis.

To that end, Adorno's work is given careful consideration. This involves not only dealing with his philosophy of music, but also with his train of thought about communication and expression in relation to human experience. It is the purpose of the analysis to retrieve the kernel of truth in Adorno's polemical approach to the popular - in awareness of historical specificities and misleading exegeses - as to mobilise a critique of global music today.