Music and Political Democratisation in Late Twentieth Century

Study Day

Music and Political Democratisation in Late Twentieth Century

6 November 2020

University of Huddersfield

Convened by Igor Contreras Zubillaga (British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Huddersfield) and Robert Adlington (University of Huddersfield)

Keynote speaker: Marina Frolova-Walker (University of Cambridge)

This event aims to innovatively question how musical practices formed ways of imagining democracy in the democratic transitions that took place after Portugal’s ‘Carnation Revolution’ in 1974 – what Huntington (1991) called the ‘third wave’ of democratisation, which involves more than 60 countries throughout Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Rather than studying music’s diverse deployments within these political contexts (music ‘in’ transitions to democracy), this study day places the emphasis upon ways in which music embodies democratisation processes and participates in the wider social struggle to define freedom and equality for the post-authoritarian era (hence the ‘and’ in the title of the event).

As political science has shown, democracy is a highly contested category, one that has been imagined in many different ways, and any particular realisation of which carries costs as well as benefits. According to the historian of democracy Pierre Rosanvallon, the rise of democracy has historically represented both a promise and a problem for a society: ‘a promise insofar as democracy reflected the needs of societies founded on the dual imperative of equality and autonomy; and a problem, insofar as these noble ideals were a long way from being realized’ (2008:2). These complex facets of democracy became especially apparent in the political context of transition to democracy after an authoritarian regime, leading to a struggle between different ‘ideas’ of democracy (Albertus and Menaldo, 2018).Thus, this study day also seeks to engage in a comparative discussion of how music framed different ideas of democracy in post-authoritarian transitions during the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. How did musical practices instantiate ideas of democracy in these political contexts? Inversely, how did such democratic values inform musical practice? How did musicians negotiate between creative autonomy and social responsibility? And more broadly, what is the role of musical culture in a transition to democracy?


8h30-9h00 Coffee and welcome

9h00-9h45 Seonhwa Lee (Royal Holloway, University of London): “The symbolic position of music embodied in democracy and politics: the example of the protest song 임을 위한 행진곡 (Marching for Our Beloved)’

9h45-10h30 Núria Bonet (University of Plymouth): “Musical Democracy in Chilean Prisons During Pinochet’s Dictatorship (1973-1990)”

30 min. break

11h00-12h30 Keynote Lecture: Marina Frolova-Walker (University of Cambridge)

Lunch Break

13h30-14h45 William Fourie (Africa Open Institute, Stellenbosch University): “Composing the Interregnum: Kevin Volans and South Africa’s Transition to Democracy”

14h45-15h30 Mamadou Drame (Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, Senegal): “Faire le procès des indépendances 40 ans après : réflexions autour de l’avis des jeunes africains par le biais du hip hop et de la littérature postindépendance”

30 min. break

16h00-16h45 Alicia Pajón Fernández (Universidad de Oviedo): “The View of Popular Music in the Press During the Spanish Transition to Democracy: The Difficult Compromise Between Idealism and Capitalism”

16h45-17h30 Diego García-Peinazo (Universidad de Granada): “A(n) (Popular Music) Anthem for Post-Franco Spain? Performing Transition to Democracy and Beyond Around Jarcha’s ‘Libertad sin ira’ (1976)”

17h30-18h00 Final discussion

18h00-18h45 Drinks

18h45 Conference Dinner