"What will the respectable public say?" Protest musicianship and class in "Sexta" events in Mexico City

Green, A. (2019) "What will the respectable public say?" Protest musicianship and class in "Sexta" events in Mexico City. In: Montero-Diaz, F. and Winter, F. (eds.) Citizenship in the Latin American Upper and Middle Classes: Ethnographic Perspectives on Culture and Politics. Series: Routledge advances in sociology. Routledge: London, pp. 30-45. ISBN 9780815353928 (doi: 10.4324/9781351134316-3)

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At events held in Mexico City squares and parks to support the anti-state, pro-Zapatista Sexta umbrella movement, musical performances become sites where questions of class, citizenship, and social distance are negotiated. Sexta musical performances are often sombre affairs privileging the overt politics of text over the implicit politics of the body. These events recall Graeber (2007), who traces the development of bourgeois social etiquette in early modern Europe according to a transition from vulgar, bodily “joking relations” to distanced, formalized “relations of avoidance”. Here, “subcultural capital” is both established in opposition to the cultural “mainstream” and related to social distance embodied in musical creativity. Such acts of distinction are also related to notions of citizenship. Sexta activists frequently appeal to their right, as Mexican citizens, to Constitutional protections in order to strengthen their legitimacy within public spaces; their events presuppose rationality, as activists maintain that passers-by need only be informed to alter their ideological stances. Yet they reject institutions, such as the state and mainstream media, to which notions of “citizenship” might be most related. They thus construct an alternative form of citizenship related to an oppositional “counter-public sphere”, but which retains many characteristics of the Habermasian “public sphere”.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Green, Dr Andrew
Authors: Green, A.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Music

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