Andreas Otte on popular music from Greenland


Foto: Patrick Abrahamsen

– Globalisation, nationalism and performance of place

Since 2008 I have done research on and participated in, popular music production and consumption related to bands and artists of Greenlandic nationality, a cultural field I label ‘the Greenlandic popular music scene’.

My research on this scene is mainly concerned with how popular music can be used by individuals and groups to position themselves in particular scaled places in the world, and how popular music can be engaged in negotiating and constructing meanings ascribed to these places. In this optic popular music is a significant contributor to how geographies are imagined in the human mind, as this cultural form offers the possibility of performing places in particular ways with particular relations to other places. In a world of unequal power relations within and between scaled places, popular music can thus play a significant part in both challenging and reestablishing relations of power.
DSCF1516Through case studies and ethnographic fieldwork I probe how politics of place and identity are induced into popular music, and how activities in this cultural field relates to similar political topics and their history in other fields. The major re-emerging topic I have encountered through this research is nationalism and its interconnection with globalization. Much of the activities forming the Greenlandic popular music scene are engaged with ascribing meaning to the national scale, and different musical productions and their contextual behaviors gain social significance as forums for imagining idealized versions of the national. This imagining contributes to the construction of meanings ascribed to Greenland and thus to its imagined position within regions and within a world of nations.


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