1st Global Conference
Tuesday 8th March – Thursday 10th March 2011
Prague, Czech Republic
The Power of the Beat: US Hip Hop through Wallerstein and Bourdieu
Tareixa Garcia de Polavieja
This paper examines US Hip Hop as a cultural and political movement. Based on a literature review on Hip Hop, I start by outlining main practices and values of mainstream and underground Hip Hop to understand the movement and its intricacies. Then, I explore how some of the movement’s traits are used mainly by the media and music industry, but not exclusively, to undermine the movement and defend a system based on inequality. I also outline main practices underground Hip Hop uses to dismantle dominant ideology and achieve its goals. Finally, I explore the movement’s potential for achieving social change. All of these ideas are analyzed through Wallerstein’s concepts of culture usage 1 and usage 2, universalism/racism and sexism and antisystemic movements together with Bourdieu’s habitus, field, capitals, and symbolic violence. By complementing Wallerstein’s analysis of antisystemic movements with Bourdieu’s concepts of field and capitals I argue that there is potential in Hip Hop for achieving change although not without challenges to be overcome. In addition, I find Wallerstein’s and Bourdieu’s models of analysis useful in understanding Hip Hop as a movement beyond cultural production and in raising our awareness of how media and industry use culture to justify and maintain an unequal system.
Phenomenon of Russian Hip Hop Culture
Russian Culturology Institute
It’s not a secret that hip hop culture was wide spread all over the globe in the past 20 years. Russia was not an exception in this part of the process of globalization that was forming the modern cultural field. The history of Russian hip hop culture began in the middle of 80s, nowadays we could see hip hop manifestations (called elements) wide spread in Russian big cities.
And what is really interesting – the 3rd generation of hip-hopers are making
its history today, while the “founders” are still in culture trying to establish some kind of hip hop education. Actual issue is the placement and understanding of the hip hop culture in modern Russian society even taken in more global international context. What are the true values, aims and philosophy of the hip hop community? What is underground hip hop in relation to the mainstream? What are the ways of enculturation in this culture and why exactly Russian youth is so strongly attracted by this new postmodern movement? These are some of the main questions that have to be discussed and investigated on the academic level. Moreover the authorities are trying to make some actions in the direction of finding some interactions with young generation. And hip hop offers a great opportunity in this – as a universal cultural mechanism of communication.
Unfortunately from the academic point of view this is often not a good subject for scientific research. In spite of the fact that hip hop have already offered new branch so close to what could be interpreted as an internal research – “knowledge” (5th element). As Africa Bambaataa defines this term – this is the universal sum of the present human knowledge, and at the same time this is the central joining element of hip hop. Finally, we see a rise of interest in such activity in Russia and it could be a good basis for the wide discussion.
Exploring Urban Resistance and Empowerment; Passivity and Commodity in the Technology of Hip Hop and Rap
The technology of the hip hop and rap culture, once realized by participants of an urban social movement, has progressed into an industry-formulated regurgitation of sounds and images. In recent years, emphasis on sales in theatrics and image has helped to shape a postmodern construction of authenticity in the hip hop aesthetic, dominated largely by the gangsta rap culture. This has helped to foster what Roni Sarig (2007) dubs the “hustler mentality” of “maximum profit despite marginal [musical] talent” in the production and distribution of much mainstream hip hop and rap. I will show how technology has fueled this mentality through the increasing substitution of sequencers and software programs by major performers in both live and studio settings.
This paper argues that the current standard of commercialization in the hip hop and gangsta rap culture could again be seen as socially transformative. By employing live instrumentation instead of computer-generated music, the instrumentation itself becomes a “resistance vernacular” (Rose 1994) in a setting where commodity currently supersedes artistic creativity.
I begin by exploring how technological innovations became tools of empowerment and resistance in early hip hop, followed by their progression into passivity and commodity. I then explore several case studies in which instrumentation in hip hop and rap functions, once again, as a modern social movement against the commodity of the mainstream industry.