CFP: Affective Politics and the Policing of the Social Through Popular Music


Call for Papers

Special Issue of the Journal of Extreme Anthropology

Photo by Caleb George on Unsplash


Affective Politics and the Policing of the Social Through Popular Music

Guest Editors


Kjetil Klette Bøhler

Professor of Music and Culture, at the University of South East Norway, Norway

Bjørn Schiermer

Professor of Sociology, University of Oslo, Norway

Lorena Avellar de Muniagurria

Postdoctoral Researcher, Universidade de Campinas, (UNICAMP), Brazil

Chris Stover

Senior Lecturer of Music at Queensland Conservatory, Griffith University, Australia


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The ‘affective turn’ across the humanities and the social sciences suggests that we pay attention to how affects create subjectivities, build communities and shape new forms of politics in the making (White 2017, Desai-Stephens & Reisnour 2020, Gregg & Seigworth 2010 and Clough & Halley 2007, Goodwin et. al. 2001). In other words, it encourages us to study how affective bodies ‘act and are acted upon’ (Seigworth and Gregg 2010: 1) as people engage with each other and with sensory objects (e.g. musical sounds), politically and socially, within specific contexts. These insights have implications for our understanding of politics, of the social, as well as how we understand social control and the ‘policing’ of the social. Instead of excluding objects from the social and privileging theories modelled on structure and agency (e.g. Giddens 1984, Bourdieu 1984), scholars are now redefining agency as relational (Barad 2003, 2007; Latour 2007, 2013). This has led to new research on how sensory objects, such as sounds and music, shape subjectivities, build communities and instigate politics through affect, within and across, contexts (Bøhler 2017, 2021; Shank 2014; Guilbault 2019; Schiermer 2021a, 2021b; Muniagurria 2018; Duque and Muniagurria 2022; Stover 2017, 2017).


This affective turn in theory has profound implications for the interdisciplinary field of music studies and the ways in which it conceptualizes the relation between music, the social, and the political. Instead of locating the social and the political in broader contexts that operate beyond music (Negus 1997, Frith 1996), we need to develop theories and methods to capture the social, political and affective affordances of musical sounds in situ (Bøhler 2021, 2017). We must not only develop new theories and methods to study how particular genres of music gives voice to particular forms of politics through affect, but also examine how sounds and music enact new modes of ‘policing’ through affective manipulation and sonic control of people in specific environments. Examples of the latter have been explored in recent scholarship on how jingles are used to recruit marginalized voter groups during elections (Bøhler 2021). Other studies have explored how law enforcement agencies use sounds and music to regulate public spaces, be it to spread fear, fight crime or deescalate situations and secure environments (Cardoso 2018, Doorman and Pali 2021). Indeed, new research is needed on how music, sounds and other aesthetic and bodily practices both create new ‘police orders’ by shaping ‘what is common to the community’ (Rancière 2013, 14) and challenge such established divisions through affective means (Rancière 2013, 14-18).


We invite scholars in the musical sciences – musicology, ethnomusicology, popular music studies and music theory – and researchers working in neighbouring disciplines such as cultural sociology, anthropology, sound studies, music therapy, cultural studies, criminology, and area studies, to explore how affective politics and the policing of the social operate through popular music. We are particularly interested in scholars that work across the disciplines mentioned above in a transversal manner. Topics of interests include, but are not limited to, the following subjects:


  • Ethnographic-, historiographic-, cultural- and musical analyses (e.g. analysis of music transcriptions in situ) that explore how music and sounds instigate politics and new forms of social critique through affect in specific contexts

  • Ethnographic-, historiographic-, cultural- and musical analyses (e.g. analysis of music transcriptions in situ) that explore new modes of ‘policing’ through affective manipulation and sonic control of people in specific environments

  • Theoretical discussions grounded in specific case studies (e.g. ethnography or musical analysis) that challenge pre-existing concepts of the politics of music informed by the affective turn and/or recent work on relational agency with the potential to shed new light on the role of musical sounds in political articulations

  • Criminological scholarship that explores how music and sounds are used as tools in policing and/or among criminals, be it to spread information, create fear, occupy public spaces (both digital and physical), or for other purposes

  • Explorations of how musical articulations of ‘affective politics’ go viral online through social media platforms coupled with theoretical discussions related to relational agency

  • Investigations of how music and sounds carve out new forms of sonic policing online through social media

  • Scolarship that explores how music, and/or specific musicians, are used during election campaigns to build political support

  • Explorations of how popular musicians become ‘celebrity politicians’ in specific contexts by mobilizing affective labour and capital

  • Theoretical and interdisciplinary work that questions established distinctions between political participation and political manipulation through music

  • Work that moves beyond established divisions between cultural texts and contexts in studies on musical politics and policing by underscoring their dialectic relationships and complex interactions

  • Interdisciplinary research that combines insights from psychology and neuroscience with interpretive qualitative research (e.g., from musicology and anthropology) to shed light on the manipulative and political potentials of popular culture (e.g. through case studies of music, videos, or discussions on social media)

  • Critical interpretations of existing theories on the politics of popular culture and music that invite us to rethink the political force of affect

Interested contributors are encouraged to submit an abstract of 300 words and a short bio by the December 1, 2022 to all four guest editors:


Kjetil Klette-Bøhler: kjb@usn.no

Bjørn Schiermer Andersen: b.s.andersen@sosgeo.uio.no

Lorena Avellar de Muniagurria: lorenaam@unicamp.br

Chris Stover: c.stover@griffith.edu.au

with CC to the Editor-in-Chief Tereza Østbø Kuldova: tereza.kuldova@oslomet.no


Deadline for full submissions will be May 1, 2023. The issue 7(2) is scheduled for autumn/winter 2023.


Journal of Extreme Anthropology is an international, peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary, open access and indexed journal that publishes articles in the fields of social anthropology, ethnographically informed criminology, and humanities and social theory, devoted often (but not only) to extreme subjects, transgressive practices and more. Beyond the standard peer-reviewed article format, we welcome visual essays, interviews, book reviews, essays, and other creative contributions. The journal is hosted at the University of Oslo.

The Journal of Extreme Anthropology publishes following contributions (please see details and more categories below the guidelines on style):

  • Peer-reviewed articles – 9000 words (including references, captions and notes, double-blind peer-review)

  • Essays – 3000 words (including references, captions and notes, not peer-reviewed but subject to editorial review)

  • Reviews of Books, Exhibitions, and Films –1500 words (including references, captions and notes, not peer-reviewed, but subject to editorial review)

  • Visual Essays

  • Interviews

  • Translations

For more, visit: https://journals.uio.no/JEA


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Bøhler, K. K. (2021). The Political Force of Musical Actants: Grooves, Pleasures, and Politics in Havana D'Primera's ‘Pasaporte’Live in Havana. Twentieth-Century Music, 18(2), 185-222.


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