Item Details

Keynote: Party Music, Affect and the Politics of Modernity

Issue: Vol 6 No. 2 (2019)

Journal: Journal of World Popular Music

Subject Areas:

DOI: 10.1558/jwpm.40172


In “Affect Theory and the Empirical”, Danilyn Rutherford writes, “we need to think about power to understand affect”. She adds, “could it be that we also need to think about affect to understand the nature of power?” Based on this premise, this keynote paper, presented at the International Association for the Study of Popular Music XX Biennial Conference 2019, goes against the tendency to schematize and universalize emotions and affect. Instead, I argue for the need to address affect historically and ethnographically within the fields of power in which musical experience takes place. This article focuses on the 2017 Road March song, ‘Full Extreme’, the song that played almost 500 more times than its closer competitor at the judging points during Carnival Tuesday in Trinidad (West Indies). I examine this song as an event to reveal the various forces that are at play in foregrounding simultaneously a “collective effervescence” (Emile Durkheim’s expression) and the local tradition of calypso’s critical rhetoric. By exploring how it has galvanized massive support, I show how this song confronts what has been at the core of the exclusionist politics of modernity. I also call attention to what is called for not only to create mass appeal, but also to encourage public engagement and political debate in modern democracies.

Author: Jocelyne Guilbault

View Original Web Page

References :

Abrahams, Roger D. 1983. The Man-of-Words in the West Indies: Performance and the Emergence of Creole Culture. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Ahmed, Sara. 2004. The Cultural Politics of Emotion. New York: Routledge.

Baraldi, Filippo Bonini. 2013. Tsiganes, musique et empathie. Paris: Éditions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme.

Barnes, Natasha. 2000. “Body Talk: Notes on Women and Spectacle in Contemporary Trinidad Carnival”. Small Axe: A Journal of Criticism 7: 93–105.

Barrios, Roberto E. 2017. Governing Affect: Neoliberalism and Disaster Reconstruction. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

Bauman, Richard. 1974. “Verbal Art as Performance”. In Working Papers in Sociolinguistics, no. 18. Austin, TX: Southwest Educational Development Laboratory.

Bauman, Richard and Joel Sherzer, eds. 1974. Explorations in the Ethnography of Speaking. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Brereton, Bridget. 2002 [1979]. Race Relations in Colonial Trinidad, 1879–1900. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Butler, Judith. 1993. Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex”. New York: Routledge.

Daughtry, Martin. 2015. Listening to War: Sound, Music, Trauma, and Survival in Wartime. New York: Oxford University Press.

Deleuze, Gilles. 1978. “On Spinoza”. Cours Vincennes, 24 January (English translation). (accessed 24 November 2019).

Deleuze, Gilles and Felix Guattari. 2004. A Thousand Plateaus. London: Continuum.

Descartes, René. 1985. “The Passions of the Soul”. In The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, vol. I, trans. J. Cottingham, R. Stoothoff and D. Murdoch, 328–404. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dikobe, Maude. 2009. Doing She Own Thing: Gender, Performance and Subversion in Trinidad Calypso. Saarbrücken, Germany: Lambert Academic Publishing.

Dube, Saurabh. 2009. “Modernity and Its Enchantments: An Introduction”. In Enchantments of Modernity: Empire, Nation, and Globalization, edited by Saurabh Dube, 1–41. New York: Routledge.

Dudley, Shannon. 2004. Carnival Music in Trinidad: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture. New York: Oxford University Press.

Franco, Pamela R. 2000. “The ‘Unruly Woman’ in Nineteenth-Century Trinidad Carnival”. Small Axe: A Journal of Criticism 7: 60–76.

Freire, Paulo. [1968] 1970. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum.

Frith, Simon. 1988. “Why Do Songs Have Words?”. In Frith, Music for Pleasure, 105–28. New York: Routledge.

Garland, Shannon. 2014. “Music, Affect, Labor and Value: Late Capitalism and the (Mis)Productions of Indie Music in Chile and Brazil”. PhD dissertation. New York: Columbia University.

Gennep, Arnold van. 1909. Les rites de passage. Paris: Émile Nourry.

Gitzen, Timothy. 2013. “Affective Resistance: Objects of Korean Popular Music”. International Journal of Asia Pacific Studies 9/1: 5–36.

Gray, Lila Ellen. 2013. Fado Resounding: Affective Politics and Urban Life. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Grossberg, Lawrence. 1984. “Another Boring Day in Paradise: Rock and Roll and the Empowerment of Everyday Life”. Popular Music 4: 225–58.

—1992. “Is There a Fan in the House? The Affective Sensibility of Fandom”. In The Adoring Audience: Fan Culture and Popular Media, edited by Lisa A. Lewis, 50–68. London: Routledge.

—1997. Dancing in Spite of Myself: Essays on Popular Culture. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Guilbault, Jocelyne. 2004. “On Redefining the Nation through Party Music”. In Culture in Action: The Trinidad Experience, edited by Milla Cozart Riggio, 228–38. New York: Routledge.

—2007. Governing Sound: The Cultural Politics of Trinidad’s Carnival Musics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

—2010. “Music, Politics, and Pleasure: Live Soca in Trinidad”. Small Axe: A Journal of Criticism 31/14: 16–29.

Gumperz, John J., and Dell Hymes, eds. 1972. Directions in Sociolinguistics: The Ethnography of Communication. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Hawkins, Francesca. 2017. “A Musical Disruption to the Full Extreme”. Soca News, 13 February. (accessed 10 December 2017).

Hofman, Ana. 2015a. “The Affective Turn in Ethnomusicology”. Muzikologija 18: 35–54.

—2015b. Glasba, politika, afekt: novo življenje partizanskih pesmi v Sloveniji [Music, Politics, Affect: New Lives of Partisan Songs in Slovenia]. Ljubljana, Slovenia: Institute of Culture and Memory Studies.

Hosein, Gabrielle. 2018. “Champagne and Mauby in this Soca Kingdom”. Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, Opinion A 19, 29 January.

Hymes, Dell, ed. 1972. Reinventing Anthropology. New York: Pantheon Books.

Keil, Charles. 1994. “Motion and Feeling in Music”. In Music Grooves by Charles Keil and Steven Feld, 53–76. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Keil, Charles, and Steven Feld. 1994. Music Grooves. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Leys, Ruth. 2011. “The Turn to Affect: A Critique”. Critical Inquiry 37/3: 434–72.

McCann, Bryan J. 2013. “Affect, Black Rage, and False Alternatives in the Hip-Hop Nation”. Cultural Studies-Critical Methodologies 13/5: 408–18.

McGraw, Andrew. 2016. “Atmosphere as a Concept for Ethnomusicology: Comparing the Gamelatron and the Gamelan”. Ethnomusicology 60/1: 125–47.

Massumi, Brian. 1995. “The Autonomy of Affect”. Cultural Critique 31: 83–109.

—2002. Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Mazzarella, William. 2009. “Affect: What Is It Good For?” In Enchantments of Modernity: Empire, Nation, Globalization, edited by Saurabh Dube, 209–309. New York: Routledge.

—2017. The Mana of Mass Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Meyer, Leonard B. 1956. Emotion and Meaning in Music. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Munro, Hope. 2016. What She Go Do: Women in Afro-Trinidadian Music. Jackson: University of Mississippi Press.

OSAC (Overseas Security Advisory Council). 2018. United States Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Trinidad and Tobago 2018 Crime & Safety Report. (accessed 13 February 2019).

Rohlehr, Gordon. 1998. “‘We Getting the Kaiso That We Deserve’: Calypso and the World Music Market”. TDR/The Drama Review 42/3: 82–95.

Rutherford, Danilyn. 2016. “Affect Theory and the Empirical”. Annual Review of Anthropology 45: 285–300.

Sherzer, Joel. 1983. Kuna Ways of Speaking: An Ethnographic Perspective. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Sprengel, Darci. 2017. “‘Postponed Endings’: Youth Music and Affective Politics in Post-Uprisings Egypt”. PhD dissertation. Los Angeles: University of California.

Tatro, Kelley. 2014. “The Hard Work of Screaming: Physical Exertion and Affective Labor among Mexico City’s Punk Vocalists”. Ethnomusicology 58/3: 431–53.

Thompson, Marie, and Ian Biddle, eds. 2013. Sound, Music, Affect: Theorizing Sonic Experience. New York: Bloomsbury Academic.

Thompson, Robert Farris. 1984. Flash of the Spirit: African and Afro-American Arts and Philosophy. New York: Vintage Books.

Turner, Victor W. 1969. The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure. Chicago: Aldine.

—1986. The Anthropology of Performance. New York: PAJ Publications.