This panel examines how people around the world produce and/or consume art, media, music or popular culture. We invite papers that explore how these very categories are conceptualised and made meaningful in specific cultural contexts.
Art / Not Art. Low / High. Underground / Mainstream. Popular Culture / Mass Culture. This panel seeks to explore how these kinds of oppositions are employed by a broad range of individuals and cultural groups including; artists, musicians, media producers, fans, cultural critics and anthropologists themselves. We invite rich ethnographic accounts of people's everyday engagements with art, media, music or popular culture that reflect on processes of categorisation, classification and distinction. How do people utilise these labelling concepts? Do they reject them or reproduce them? If so, when, where and why? Whilst we frame this panel in terms of binary oppositions (i.e. low/high etc.) we encourage papers that critique this model by utilising findings from ethnographic fieldwork to examine the beliefs, values and practices of people living in specific cultural contexts. More broadly, we also seek papers that consider what anthropologists have to contribute to the study of art, media, music or popular culture - and whether or not these terms are useful ways of describing these fields of study. As such, we interpret the panel title in two ways: 1) What is the 'state' of 'art' (i.e. How do people determine what is or is not 'art' or 'underground' etc.? What is included or excluded? How do these categories and their content change over time?). 2) What new (state of the art) methods or approaches can anthropologists utilise when working in these fields? Are terms like 'media anthropology' or 'anthropology of popular culture' helpful analytical tools?