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Glocal Riddim: Cultural Production And Territorial Identity In Caribbean Music Videos

M. Balaji, T. Sigler
Published 2018 · Sociology

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Over the past two decades, several musical genres have transcended their Caribbean origins to achieve global recognition and success. Among these are soca, dancehall and reggaeton, all forms that had been inextricably tied to native cultural expressions, but have become increasingly popular as global commodities, particularly as web-based streaming platforms (e.g. YouTube) enhance their global audiovisual mobility. Numerous artists within these genres have become internationally recognized superstars, and many of the most recent tracks reflect an increasing co-mingling with American ‘pop’ music, as record companies seek to invigorate mainstream sounds with these ‘exotic’, yet widely popular artists. This article explores representations of scalar territorial identity as articulated in music videos from within these genres so as to evaluate how identity intersects with profit-driven models applicable to the contemporary music industry. By evaluating imagery from a regionally representative sample of music videos, they identify the intimate relationship between identity, scale and cultural production. Ultimately, we interrogate how place-based identity is commodified in these representations and whether certain images are constructed more for transnational consumption than an articulation of a coherent local national, or regional identity.
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