chapter  12
30 Pages

What’s On Your Playlist? Subcultures, Racism, and Cultural Appropriation

Many things we have discussed in this book involve necessities. We need food and clothing in our daily lives. Many of us need coffee. We may feel like we need smartphones to be functioning members of society. Many of us need a car to get around, especially when public transit is underdeveloped. But do we need music? Technically speaking, music is not something we need to survive, although our favorite musicians may help us get through difficult times. Music is not a biological necessity but it is culturally ubiquitous: it exists all around us, it is played in multiple global cultures, and it has been developed and enjoyed throughout history. Music’s omnipresence provides a clue about its tremendous sociological importance. Throughout this chapter, we examine the sociological significance of music for cultural survival and resistance to oppression, especially racism. In addition, we look at how musical resistance can be transformed into a commodity that is consumed by many different kinds of people in a capitalist economy.