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Cultural Democracy: A Hip Hop-ological Study

Little, Sarah Leigh (2019) Cultural Democracy: A Hip Hop-ological Study. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This research explores how the conditions for cultural democracy may be encouraged through Hip Hop as a critically engaged, creative practice. It focuses on the spaces where cultural democracy may be encouraged within the context of Hip Hop as a form of organic, grassroots cultural engagement, as a commercial endeavour, and, specifically, as an externally commissioned, socially engaged arts practice. Hip Hop studies theory, cultural advocacy ideology theory and accounts from Hip Hop artists working in communities are brought into multilogue to investigate what is happening to Hip Hop when it is transposed into these contexts and what its resulting relationship is to notions of empowerment, agency and cultural freedom. This thesis provides a UK based Hip Hop perspective on the growing academic discourse around cultural democracy, and begins a critical academic discussion on the subject of Hip Hop as ‘community arts work’ in the UK. This thesis argues that spaces within Hip Hop as externally commissioned, socially engaged practice do exist for encouraging the conditions for cultural democracy. It is also suggested that there is a current deficit within Hip Hop ‘community arts’ in the UK where practitioners are forced to negotiate the parameters of their practice within very thin boundaries that are challenged by the systemic and institutional conditions that surround their work. At times this constriction can result in a diminution of the very things that are originally claimed to make Hip Hop a suitable vehicle for social and critical engagement in the first place. Whilst a Hip Hop consciousness often permeates the work that practitioners undertake in this context there is space for its application as a methodology to be made more explicit, for artists to engage in a greater degree of self-reflexivity to fortify the approach they take to their work in order to work towards an enhanced methodological conceptualisation and to further explore the scope of Hip Hop’s conceptual tactical ‘tools’ to create space for encouraging agency and critical engagement.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Hip Hop; UK Hip Hop; British Hip Hop; Cultural Democracy; Culture; Hip-hop; Hiphop; Rap; Breakdance; DJing; Graffiti; Production; Audience empowerment; Participation; Community Arts; Commercial Hip Hop; Socially engaged arts work
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > Performance and Cultural Industries (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.789431
Depositing User: Miss Sarah Leigh Little
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2019 09:13
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 12:51
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/24638

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