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BETWEEN FOLK AND POPULAR: THE LIMINAL SPACES OF THE VERNACULAR
British Forum for Ethnomusicology Annual Conference 2007

CONFERENCE THEMES

If it is true that “the ethnographic Other is now fully plugged in, and the ethnomusicologist is no longer the only person in the field with high-tech equipment” (Lysloff and Gay, Jr.); that the differences between world and traditional folk musicians have collapsed, and for many of them “the local marketplace and the global market are at some level the same” (Bohlman); then it is probably time (again) to think to what extent, “on the level of scholarship – within cultural studies, subcultural theory, ethnic studies, and ethnomusicology – the music [still] features within grids of distinction and political position clearly indebted to older discourses in folkloristics, anthropology and Romantic Kulturkritik” (Middleton). In the light of this, how does ethnomusicology consider new vernacular and post-vernacular musics? Is the difference between folk and popular still valuable, or even necessary? It is probably time (again) to question the extent to which ethnomusicological theory is now responding to the always changing process of the “stratification of [musical] codes, each one in a state of constant change and adaptation, each one recognized and owned by several communities (or sub-communities) with different degrees of competence, and sometimes in conflict with each other” (Fabbri).

There will be papers and panels on the following themes:

- Ethnomusicological theories and processes of categorization
- Folk music and popular music revisited: distinctions, overlaps and convergences
- Ethnomusicology of new vernacular and post-vernacular musics
- Folk music performance on the contemporary stage
- Tradition and new authenticities
- ‘World Music’, global and local
- Different histories of/in ethnomusicology
- Genre and/or style studies