Music and Identity

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Music and Identity

In this report, I will expand upon what was spoken in the presentation by providing a more in-depth look at each section I talked about. The presentation was divided into six sections:

i)What do we mean by identity?
ii)Identity in previous historical periods
iii)Identity in contemporary culture
iv)How the media constructs our identities
v)A case study; MTV and the music video

What do we mean by identity?

Identity refers to the way people see themselves--the groups they feel a part of, the significant aspects of themselves that they use to describe themselves to others. Some theorists distinguish between collective identity, social identity, and personal identity. However, they are all related in one way or another to a description of who one is, and how one fits into one's social groups and society over all.

A group may be associated with a particular type of music, and a member of this group may use his or her interest in this group to partly define his or her identity.

For example, Goths have a very distinctive image which is closely related to the music they listen to. They would say that their musical interest shapes their visual identity. There may be other forms of identity aside from visual. A behavioural change may be apparent in many people who choose to adapt their identity to suit a musical genre. For example, some young people into rap music may adopt the vernacular put into the mainstream media by their favourite artist.

Identity in previous historical periods

Previous to the mid-20th century, identities were seen as fixed roles in society and were made up of a "traditional system of myths which provided orientation and religious sanctions to define one's place in the world." For example, the woman's place in the home, the man who worked to get food onto the table etc. Identities were also seen as more collective, and a function of a group or tribe. Nowadays there is a slant...
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