2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Dance Music as Culture

Finlay John Harbour, 2017, Stage 2

Territory: Music, Culture

Dance music, in its authentic form, with Disco as it’s predecessor — authenticity established by a continuum from Disco to electronic dance music, cultivating ideological resistance, sonic variation and club cultural context.

Unlike most art forms, dance music achieves its ultimate potential in only a moment of euphoria shared by the cumulative joy of a crowd of people. I aim to prove that in these moments, all aspects of authentic dance music come together to form a unique autonomy in the context of the culture industry. I will do this by identifying, using critical analysis, weaknesses in the theories that will be discussed and presenting dance music’s unique ability to exploit these.

The Social Theories of Theodor Adorno in The Dialectic of Enlightenment and G.W.F Hegel in The Philosophy of Right and Philosophy of Mind. Hegel’s theory reinforces the concept of an artistic freedom restricted by the Culture Industry.

Adorno engages in the idea of ‘autonomous art’ against the culture industry. To an extent, this will remain the position of authentic ‘dance music’;ideologically resistant to the culture industry in the way that Adorno idealises. However, a study into Adorno’s own perception of authentic art, a result of his complex, often pretentious Aesthetic Theory, demonstrates why he doesn’t actually believe autonomy can be anything other than illusory in relation to its social context — Adorno is too negative.

I have thus presented ‘dance’ music’s authentic features as holding the potential to actualise Adorno’s illusory ideal. Whilst I also understand this cannot be maintained, in brief moments, dance music is at least the perfect representation of Hegel’s utopian union of the subjective and objective, yet also, can achieve an independent utopia.

Leave a Reply