Micro
Two Tasks to Complete this Post: Task One— Listen/Gather your Notes & Post in Support of Heads or Tails Type in radio.garden in a browser and get travelling and listening.  Settle on at least three different radio stations in three very distinct parts of our planet (in distinct continents) and listen to each while you gather your ideas and evidence to complete our first Informed Critical Discussion tasks. There are many very different, even wildly opposing ways of approaching the data available through online global radio access.  Flip a coin and argue for one of the following positions: Heads—the world is vast, rich and diverse.  Global access to popular music in my case studies of x,y,z demonstrate that popular music is being produced and consumed in ways that enable connections and exchanges of ideas and beliefs amid profound differences. Tails—the world is clearly becoming increasingly homogenous.  Certain styles and formulas of popular music revealed in my case studies x,y,z show us that clear historical forces severely limit the ways in which popular music is produced and travels.     Be sure to note some basic information about your 3 locations and some details about each. You do not have to know the language, and can and should consider yourself in the position of an investigator trying to make sense of samples (perhaps 30 minutes each) from your locations. Task Two—Then, after you have posted you will have access to be able to read other’s posts. Choose at least one post to oppose, providing your strongest and best arguments possible, based upon direct usage of your sources.  Your careful, constructive and informed response to another’s post should be at least 150 words not including any quotes.  Again, be sure to cite relevant specific details from your three cases.  DUE before Sept. 5 @ 11:59PM Important— do not use any textual sources beyond our required text for your discussion assignments.  There is well more than enough here for us to be responsible for, so focus only on these texts within your discussion.   1. In this discussion of 250 plus well-informed and well-written words (not including any quotations), you must represent how you have considered at least three concepts from Corbett’s article “Free, Single, and Disengaged...” that you expect will be useful for our present study of popular music.  You should offer us at least three distinct summaries of passages drawn from different parts of the reading, providing your own detailed interpretations/explanations, along with at least two specific examples/illustrations from popular musical/cultural contexts you find relevant.    2. After you have posted, you will be able to view other’s posts, and will find at least one other student to assert an important and/or interesting point of agreement (100 plus words not included quotes/summaries) and at least one other student to assert an important and/or interesting point of disagreement (100 plus words not included quotes/summaries).  Your points of agreement and disagreement must be clearly supported with well-chosen evidence/support directly drawn from our reading and/or your popular musical examples/evidence.   I suggest that while you read and think about the article, likely looking up the unfamiliar language, concepts and theories, you consider one of the major debates that that it builds upon:   The top-down orientation (associated with T. Adorno and the Frankfurt School in sociology/ethnomusicology/cultural studies) emphasizes how modern popular culture (ex. music, film, fashion etc) is organized to exploit and control the masses.   Business and governmental interests collude in their use of popular culture to maintain patterns of social control - ex. working class kids absorb dreams of wealth and recognition in music and sports only to wind up creating another generation of working class kids with the same dreams but in a different style with a different soundtrack or updated uniform.   It matters historically that these thinkers from Frankfurt were responding to the rise of the Nazis and other very much popular, even democratically supported fascist movements.     The bottom-up orientation (first associated with the Birmingham School in England) particularly looks at forms of empowerment that groups create for themselves through using popular culture.  So, movements like reggae in England are seen as giving agency to black British communities, and punk is seen as a sub-culture that created spaces for alienated youth, including members of the working class.  Here it matters historically that these thinkers were trying to understand the social changes of England after the decline of their Empire.   So, in one view popular music is a tool working from those in power, in the other view popular music is a tool of resistance for the vulnerable.  Corbett takes the remarkable view of it somehow being both.  This is an exciting possibility, but, he does not fully and clearly explain how it could be both in ways that resolve all of the problems for us and our study.  Rather, reading him helps introduce us to a predicament- if it is top-down or bottom-up then why should we agree?  And if it is both, then how much is it one or the other and why should we think so?  We soon see that simply agreeing that it is both is not enough, and then our work becomes more detailed and we must turn to examining the details of specific historical contexts so that we can continue to face the question with systematic evidence and ideas.  

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