How Music Empowers argues that empowerment is the key to unlocking the long-standing mystery of how music moves us. Drawing upon cutting-edge research in embodied cognitive science, psychology, and cultural studies, the book provides a new way of understanding how music affects listeners. The argument develops from our latest conceptions of what it is to be human, investigating experiences of listening to popular music in everyday life. Through listening, individuals have the potential to redefine themselves, gain resilience, connect with other people, and make a difference in society.
Applying a groundbreaking theoretical framework to postmillennial rap and metal, the book uncovers why vast numbers of listeners engage with music typically regarded as ‘social problems’ or dismissed as ‘extreme’. In the first ever comparative analytical treatment of rap and metal music, twenty songs are analysed as case studies that reveal the empowering potential of listening. The book details how individuals interact with rap and metal communities in a self-perpetuating process which keeps these thriving music cultures – and the listeners themselves – alive and well. Can music really change the world? How Music Empowers answers: yes, because it changes us.
How Music Empowers will interest scholars and researchers of popular music, ethnomusicology, music psychology, music therapy, and music education.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Introduction; Chapter 2 Listening to popular music in everyday life: an ecological-embodied approach; Chapter 3 Individual empowerment in rap and metal music listening; Chapter 4 Music as a lifeline: listening for resilience; Chapter 5 The empowerment of popular music communities; Chapter 6 Can music change the world? Empowerment, politics, and social change; Chapter 7 Conclusion
Steven Gamble is a Marie Curie Research Fellow at University College Cork, studying digital-native hip-hop. His research on experiences of listening and fandom in the Internet age has been published in Popular Music, the Journal on the Art of Record Production, Metal Music Studies, and Palgrave Macmillan’s Pop Music, Culture and Identity series.