Some good news to share: I’ve been offered a contract by Routledge to write a research monograph. The book is provisionally titled How Music Empowers: Listening to Modern Rap and Metal, and it will be part of the Music and Change series. I aim to submit the manuscript around the end of 2019, so given typical publication time you can expect to read the book in 2021 or so.
This book will draw from my doctoral research to provide a new way of understanding how individuals are empowered by listening to music. I’m really excited to be working on it with Routledge! Full ‘elevator pitch’ below:
How Music Empowers suggests that power is the key to unlocking the long-standing mystery of how music moves us. Drawing upon cutting-edge studies in cognitive science, psychology, and cultural studies, the book provides a new way of understanding how music can offer listeners empowerment. The argument develops from our latest conceptions of what it is to be human and addresses why music listening is such a widespread cultural activity: the experiences of empowerment that music provides can increase individuals’ self-esteem, give them resilience, and encourage community formation.
Applying this theory to postmillennial rap and metal, the book uncovers why everyday listeners engage with music often dismissed as social ‘problems’. Taking a sympathetic, insider approach to these music cultures, numerous rap and metal tracks are analysed to suggest their empowering potential in the listening process. This culminates in an account of how individuals pursue their musical interests to creatively interact with communities dedicated to rap and metal, leading to a self-perpetuating process which keeps both music listeners and these thriving musical cultures alive and well.