Resistance and Melancholy
Pop Music, Feminism and Neo-Liberalism
Zero Books 2015
How are contemporary pop culture ideas about resilience used by Neoliberal capitalism? Robin James addresses this question using philosophy of music (and by doing philosophy through music) in her new book Resistance and Melancholy: Pop Music, Feminism, and Neoliberalism (Zero Books, 2015). The book opens with a discussion of Calvin Harris (& Florence Welch’s) Sweet Nothing as a way into theargument that ‘resilience discourse is what ties contemporary pop music aesthetics to neoliberal capitalism and racism/sexism’. James combines musicological analysis of specific techniques, such as soars, stutters and stops, with an exploration of the aesthetics of pop videos and a critical theoretical framework. In particular the book connects theories of biopower and biopolitics, along a critical take on gender and ethnicity, to the work of Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Rihanna. The text also offers a consideration of alternatives, whether those that have already been incorporatedinto contemporary pop, such the techniques and sounds of Atari Teenage Riot, or new strategies and new forms that might be beyond profit, beyond capital, and represent ‘bad investments’ to suck the life fromMulti-Racial White Supremacist Patriarchy. The book will interest a range of humanities and social science scholars, as well as anyone keen to know more about popular music and critical theory. To learn more about Dr James work read her blog here.