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Live Hip Hop, Collective Agency, and "Acting in Concert"

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This article argues that live hip hop performances at small independent clubs are democratic, political spaces that can create collective agency between the audience and performers. It draws upon Hannah Arendt's notion of "acting in concert" in order to illustrate the ways that live hip hop shows can be interactive spaces of collective identity and coordinated political practice. In live shows, performers and audience jointly produce a space of interactive engagement in which they can contest dominant cultural values. This article outlines the dynamics of live shows at small clubs, discusses five shows as case studies, and considers some significant problems with audiences at shows, including the difficulties of translating political action from the clubs into larger public spaces.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2007


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