Music Practices Across Borders (E)Valuating Space, Diversity and Exchange

Glaucia Peres da Silva & Konstantin Hondros (eds.)

Bielefeld: Transcript, Open Access.

About the book. Connecting migration studies and the theory of valuation, this collection offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of transnational music practices. Conceiving music as a practice not confined to audibility, the contributions reveal how music emerges in concrete situations through people, objects, techniques, meanings, and emotions in different parts of the world and during different historic periods. Values are thereby created and shared, and creative processes are evaluated in terms of diversity, space and exchange. This book presents cases of contemporary, popular and traditional music, festivals and trade fairs, albums and band projects, shedding light on the tensions between the transfer, reconstruction and creation of music in different contexts.

Glaucia Peres da Silva & Konstantin Hondros: “Introduction – Music practices across borders”, p. 7-40

Excerpts. “[…] we consider it important to gain insight from new developments in the Sociology of Valuation and Evaluation (SVE) (Lamont 2012) in order to better understand how space, diversity and exchange are entangled with the valuation and evaluation of transnational music practices. Literature on valuation has indicated that the concept of value has several meanings and that different perspectives can be distinguished. Central to our understanding is John Dewey’s seminal differentiation between the perspectives of value as a verb and thus as a process and value as a noun. As a noun, values appear to be fixed entities; it is the perspective of valuing as a process or verb that allows for several meanings of valuation to emerge. Dewey makes us aware that valuing might come in the form of prizing, in the sense of regarding something as precious. In music, this prizing could be connected to the intrinsic value of the music based on aesthetics or the listener’s emotions. Valuing can also be used to appraise, which indicates an assigning of value, whereby value is used instrumentally. In music, we can find these kinds of valuations in the form of criticism or rankings. Thus, evaluation is connected to the existence of multiple criteria and categories that are used to judge and classify objects in comparison to each other.

[…] A valuable background for the discussion about heterarchies, modes of coordination, or, as Boltanski and Thévenot (2006) call it, orders of worth, is their seminal work On justification. In their study opposing a neo-classical model of economics and economic rationalization, they show how several different and distinguishable modes of attaching value exist. While their model was initially comprised of six orders of worth (market, industrial, civic, domestic, inspired, and fame) (Boltanski/Thévenot 1999), it is based on actors’ practices and is neither qualitatively, quantitatively, nor temporarily fixed. Diverting orders of worth usually become apparent in situations of conflict, called critical moments, where justifications for a value judgment are uncertain. This makes values contingent. Yet, one of Boltanski and Thévenot’s main arguments is that coordination between actors is still possible, and they show how diverting orders of worth can converge and allow for compromises.”

p.7/8 & p.17

Sandrine Le Coz: “From desire for recognition to desire for independence. World music filtered in the market economy.”,
p. 105-126

Excerpts. “This contribution will involve the structuring of a sector of music industry in a full reconfiguration—the one still awkwardly designated by world music syntagma—into transnational and heterogenous networks of key players. In this way, I propose to analyze the impact of their decision-making power in new art venues—what its participants commonly call markets, exhibitions, fairs. Circuits, hot spots, honorary awards, expert panels: the question that arises regarding this ecosystem’s functioning is how is the value of an artistic act established and decreed, and what, therefore, is the value of the one who produces it? The word value comes from the Latin “valor”, derived from “valere” which means “to be powerful”. Whoever has value, therefore, becomes desirable and worthy of esteem. In economic jargon, we talk about useable value or exchange value. In this text, I will look at the sociological acceptance of value, defined by Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot (1991), as economy of greatness.

[…] Finally, the works of John Dewey, Nathalie Heinich and Luc Boltanski are of great help in analyzing how the bias of value’s negotiation lets us catch a glimpse of the manufacture of a space of social relations. The challenges of social reproduction, in a configuration like the microcosm of professional world music markets, are easily identified thanks to the relationships maintained by its actors and the construction of their sustainability within, paradoxically, piecemeal meetings set around the world. What ensures their presence? A belief based on a rhetoric manifesting the necessity of belonging to these networks in order to make and maintain one’s place. For exchange and cooperation to exist, there must be a system of reciprocal expectations: these systems are deployed in worlds governed by the coherence of principles that are activated there (cf. Boltanski/Thévenot 1991).” (p. 112/113)

p. 105/106 & p. 112/113

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