Music and Identity Essays

1015 Words Apr 7th, 2007 5 Pages
Music and Identity

In this report, I will expand upon what was spoken in the presentation by providing a more in-depth look at each section I talked about. The presentation was divided into six sections:

i) What do we mean by identity? ii) Identity in previous historical periods iii) Identity in contemporary culture iv) How the media constructs our identities
v) A case study; MTV and the music video vi) Conclusion

What do we mean by identity?

Identity refers to the way people see themselves--the groups they feel a part of, the significant aspects of themselves that they use to describe themselves to others. Some theorists distinguish between collective identity, social identity, and personal identity. However, they are
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How the media constructs our identity

The example above shows more than ever that the media has the potential to construct our identity. The media has a profound effect on one's identity in modern life. We are constantly bombarded with images in the press, television shows and magazines that tell us how we should look, think and feel.

If we look at two examples in the music media currently, we can demonstrate what effect the media has on groups and individuals.

Case Study: MTV and the Music Video

The style of the music video is targeted to specific audiences within a certain musical genre. The main emphasis is usually on the image - and the video therefore serves as a spectacle, and rarely a form of narrative. If for example we take the genre of pop, whether it be British or American popular music, we can see that all forms share common elements in their music videos.

If the video stars a female singer, often the clothing in the video is aimed at representing young women - usually those between the ages of 14 plus. Of course, a number of music videos have been controversial due to the fact that they have more and more been able to construct the identity of younger girls - and leads to discussions such as "do girls grow up too fast?", or "is this artist representing the female population when she is so thin?".

Examples of such artists are Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears. Artists such as Pink try to represent the

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