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Volkswagen Stiftung Grant for Melanie Schiller, "Popular Music as a Medium for the Mainstreaming of Populist Ideologies in Europe"

05 September 2018

The Volkswagen Stifting has a awarded funding for a three-year research project on "Popular Music as a Medium for the Mainstreaming of Populist Ideologies in Europe.

Project participants are Prof. Dr. Mario Dunkel (University of Freiburg), Prof. Dr. Manuela Caiani (University of Florence), Dr. Melanie Schiller (University of Groningen), Dr. Emilia Barna (Budapest University of Technology), and Dr. Martin Niederauer (Frankfurt am Main).

Popular Music as a Medium for Mainstreaming Populist Ideologies

In recent years, a new form of political popular music has emerged: mainstream sounds with populist messages have gained widespread popularity beyond the confines of extremist circles. This recent phenomenon of commercially successful and widely received popular music promoting populist agendas has been instrumental in the growing success of populism in Europe. Therefore, this project identifies the negligence of music in the study of populist movements by examining popular music as one central element of the cultures of populism. It explores the ways in which popular music functions as a medium for the mainstreaming of populist ideologies in Hungary, Austria, Italy, Germany, and Sweden from a comparative perspective. These countries have been identified as they (1) have seen a strong increase of populist parties and movements over the last few years, (2) played a major role in shaping the immigration policies of the EU during the so-called refugee crisis, and (3) shown strong interactions between populism and popular music. Different empirical approaches such as musicological group analysis, sociological reception analysis via focus interviews and comparative transnational contextualization are used. Songs shall be identified which are widely popular and have been released between 2015 and 2018 in the mentioned countries. Also, this project will provide a theoretical framework for enabling future cultural educators to develop methods for critical awareness of populist cultures in education programs.

Last modified:07 September 2018 1.12 p.m.

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