- A community ecology of genres: Explaining the emergence of new genres in the UK field of electronic/dance music, 1985-1999
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- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
This paper proposes and tests a ‘cultural ecological’ model for explaining the emergence of 12 genres in the UK field of electronic/dance music. By combining two large data sets, containing more than eight thousand documents from the mainstream UK music press and discographical information on almost fifty thousand records released by UK labels between 1985 and 1999, this study finds evidence that genre emergence is affected by ecological mechanisms of cross-form legitimation and competition. By taking into account cultural similarities between genres, ‘density’ of production in each genre, and symbolic legitimation of genres by the music press, it is possible to predict when and whether new genres emerge. The legitimation of a genre identity - signaled both by increasing density and sudden increases in media attention - invites the emergence of new genres of a similar identity. Genre identity positions, however, also reach a saturation point, at which time the identity position no longer leads to the founding of new genres.
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