Global Metal Music and Culture: Current Directions in Metal Studies (co-edited by Andy R. Brown, Karl Spracklen, Keith Kahn-Harris and Niall Scott)
Published by Routledge, April 2016. Read more here
This book defines the key ideas, scholarly debates, and research activities that have contributed to the formation of the international and interdisciplinary field of Metal Studies. Drawing on insights from a wide range of disciplines including popular music, cultural studies, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, and ethics, this volume offers new and innovative research on metal musicology, global/local scenes studies, fandom, gender and metal identity, metal media, and commerce. Offering a wide-ranging focus on bands, scenes, periods, and sounds, contributors explore topics such as the riff-based song writing of classic heavy metal bands and their modern equivalents, and the musical-aesthetics of Grindcore, Doom metal, Death metal, and Progressive metal. They interrogate production technologies, sound engineering, album artwork and band promotion, logos and merchandising, t-shirt and jewellery design, and fan communities that define the global metal music economy and subcultural scene. The volume explores how the new academic discipline of metal studies was formed, also looking forward to the future of metal music and its relationship to metal scholarship and fandom. With an international range of contributors, this volume will appeal to scholars of popular music, cultural studies, and sociology, as well as those interested in metal communities around the world.
Over the last few years, I’ve been building up more and more ideas for books I’d like to write. It’s unlikely I’ll ever publish more than a fraction of them, so I wanted to find a way to ‘let go’ on my ‘impossible’ books.
I’ve started ‘publishing’ these books (including covers by Gus Condeixa) on Medium. At the time of writing I’ve produced 10 and plenty more will follow. I intend to cross post them on this site but will need to create a new page to do so and haven’t yet worked out how to do it. For the time being, check out the publication page here:
There’s a new interview with me up on the Open Democracy podcast in which I discuss my book Judaism:All That Matters with Tony Curzon-Price. He gave me a real intellectual workout and I hope the interview is as fun to listen to as it was to do.
You can downoad it here Alternatively, it’s been posted on youtube:
The book began as an invitation to reflect on the events of 2011: to make sense of the changes going on in the world and in our own lives, and to voice the questions the year had left us with.
From Wikileaks to the UK riots, Tahrir Square to Zuccotti Park, the headline events of the year all make their appearance, often from the perspective of those involved in or touched by them. Smári McCarthy writes about his experience as a Telecomix activist providing tech support to revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Syria. Keri Facer examines her responses after riots come to the street she has just moved into. But these images sit alongside the less dramatic events that make up the fabric of our lives, and between the two a pattern begins to emerge.
The idea of ‘The Invisible Revolution’ comes from Pamela McLean’s account of her work with ICT and community learning in the UK and Africa. The thing about the transforming power of networks, she says, is how hard it is to make people see it unless they have experienced it first hand. In the Industrial Revolution, you could point to a steam engine; pointing to a laptop or the Twitter home page doesn’t convey an equivalent sense of the power and strangeness of the forces at work.
In this and other senses, the book becomes a picture of life in the middle of an invisible revolution, interwoven with the hopes and bitter experiences of those visible revolutions left unfinished at the end of 2011. Some of its contributors see themselves as actively engaged on the frontlines; others are closer to the role Noah Raford proposes, as ‘system-repairing non-combatants and psycho-social medics, providing shelter for the shell-shocked around us.’
From this non-combatant role, another significant path runs through the book, concerning time and place, belonging, identity and the experience of being ‘at home’. In one sense, these concerns map the negotiation between our physical, embodied existence and the virtual qualities of the network. ‘We live in an age,’ write Jeppe Graugaard and Morten Svenstrup, ‘where it has become a life skill to balance the power and advantages of virtual time against embodied temporalities.’ But they are also markers of an emergent intellectual project, a kind of applied postmodernism which does not have the luxury of dancing with nihilism as its academic counterparts have done for decades. These are not polished pieces of academic theory, but there is thinking in progress here, and a style of thinking which does not hold itself above doing, or feeling.
Following its publication, each piece in the book will be published as a post on the New Public Thinking blog, allowing the conversations around it to continue and take new directions.
Editorial: First Life – Dougald Hine & Keith Kahn-Harris A show of hands – Alex Fradera Fear and homecoming in 2011 – Keri Facer Bergeron’s Children – Smári McCarthy Accents of the mind – Pat Kane The Invisible Revolution – Pamela McLean A year in pictures – Andy Broomfield In the future, everyone will be powerful for 15 minutes – Dougald Hine Egypt’s quest for dignity – Anna Björkman The Scottish Spring – Mike Small On becoming an adult – Eleanor Saitta On becoming a conservative – Vinay Gupta Creative and collaborative – Tessy Britton Towards a transformative philosophy of education – Andrew Taggart Turning for home – Bridget McKenzie A twitteration on 2011 – Neil Cantwell Peak Art – Nick Stewart The year of forgetting – Noah Raford Reimagining the space between – Laura Burns Repossessing the future – Jeppe Graugaard and Morten Svenstrup The year punk broke – Chris T-T The Neasden Protocol – Keith Kahn-Harris Afterword: The Invisible Net – Andy Gibson
The first book-length study of contemporary British Jewry , Turbulent Times: The British Jewish Community Today examines the changing nature of the British Jewish community and its leadership since 1990.
Keith Kahn-Harris and Ben Gidley contend that there has been a shift within Jewish communal discourse from a strategy of security, which emphasized Anglo-Jewry’s secure British belonging and citizenship, to a strategy of insecurity, which emphasizes the dangers and threats Jews face individually and communally. This shift is part of a process of renewal in the community that has led to something of a ‘Jewish renaissance’ in Britain.
Addressing key questions on the transitions in the history of Anglo-Jewish community and leadership, and tackling the concept of the ‘new antisemitism’, this important and timely study addresses the question: how has UK Jewry adapted from a shift from monoculturalism to multiculturalism?
Reviews, interviews and articles on ‘Turbulent Times’
Extreme metal–one step beyond heavy metal–can appear bizarre or terrifying to the uninitiated. Extreme metal musicians have developed an often impenetrable sound that teeters on the edge of screaming, incomprehensible noise. Extreme metal circulates on the edge of mainstream culture within the confines of an obscure ’scene’, in which members explore dangerous themes such as death, war and the occult, sometimes embracing violence, neo-fascism and Satanism.
In the first book-length study of extreme metal, Keith Kahn-Harris draws on first-hand research to explore the global extreme metal scene. He shows how the scene is a space in which members creatively explore destructive themes, but also a space in which members experience the everyday pleasures of community and friendship.
Including interviews with band members and fans, from countries ranging from the UK and US to Israel and Sweden, Extreme Metal: Music and Culture on the Edge demonstrates the power and subtlety of an often surprising and misunderstood musical form.
Reviews of ‘Extreme Metal: Music and Culture on the Edge’
[NB: if you know of any more then please get in touch]
Music and religion have, throughout history, walked hand in hand. In the rites and rituals of small tribal religions, great world religions, and more recent New-Age and neo-heathen movements, different kinds of music have been used to celebrate the gods, express belief and help believers get in contact with the divine. This innovative book focuses on how mainstream and counter-cultural groups use religion and music to negotiate the challenges of modernisation and globalisation in the European context: a region under-explored by existing literature on the subject. With its internal ethnic diversity, ever-expanding borders and increasing differentiation, Europe has undergone massive dislocation in recent years. The authors show that, in the midst of such change, rock, pop and dance music may in their various forms be used by their practitioners as resources for new kinds of spiritual and religious identification, even as these forms are used as symbols of the deficiencies of secular society. Focusing on Christianity, Judaism, Islam and New Religious Movements, the book explores such topics as Norwegian Black Metal and Neo-paganism, contemporary Jewish Music in the UK, the French hip hop scene, the musical thinking of Muslim convert Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam and European dance music culture. It offers an ideal introduction to leading-edge thinking at the exciting interface of ‘music and religion’.
The concept of “subculture” has long been of significant importance in research on youth, style, deviance and popular culture. Although in more recent years subculture has been the subject of sustained critique, it still provides a valuable point of reference for study and research. This text offers students an up-to-date and wide-ranging account of new developments in youth culture research that reject, refine or reinvent the concept of subculture. Bringing together key theoretical statements with illuminating analyses of particular aspects of youth culture – popular music, clubbing, body modification, the internet, etc. – this is an ideal introduction to a diverse and wide-ranging field.
‘The five essays in this book represent highly creative attempts to deal with the problematics of contemporary diaspora Jewish identity, including the need to deepen an understanding of new trends in Israeli society’. – Dr Jonathan Webber