Arno van der Hoeven: Popular music heritage, cultural memory, and cultural identity (2010-2014)

Arno van der Hoeven: Popular music heritage, cultural memory, and cultural identity (2010-2014)

September 2010 – September 2014
Erasmus University, Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Culture and Communication
Promotor: Prof. Dr. Suanne Janssen
vanderhoeven[at]eshcc[dot]eur[dot]nl

My research is part of the HERA-funded research project ‘Popular music heritage, cultural memory, and cultural identity’, which examines the increasing importance of popular music in contemporary renderings of cultural identity and local and national cultural heritage. For example, last year the Centraal Museum Utrecht dedicated an exhibition to punk. This demonstrates how the musical rebels of the past now have become museum pieces and are cherished as cultural heritage.

Drawing upon interviews with bloggers, curators, archivists, DJs and audiences, I examine the various ways by which popular music is remembered and invokes cultural memories. This ranges from the preservation of music artifacts in museum and archives, to online fan communities making available digitized recordings of pirate radio stations from the past. Furthermore, in a recently published article I examine how the sounds of subcultural genres are preserved at nostalgic dance parties.

In my research I find that the places where popular music is consumed are pivotal in the construction of popular music heritage and cultural identity. Local museums and archives present how global phenomena such as punk and rock ’n ’roll resounded into specific localities. In my dissertation I aim to explain what these cultural memories mean to local communities and the people who grew up with these sounds.