Anne H. Lorentzen
Senter for tverrfaglig kjønnsforskningUniversitetet i Oslo
SammendragEr populærmusikkfeltet så statisk som man kan få inntrykk av gjennom å studere dets kjønnsarbeidsdeling og kjønnssammensetning? Med utgangspunkt i dybdeintervjuer som undersøker hvorfor og hvordan «syngedamer» blir produsenter, diskuterer Anne Lorentzen hvordan Judith Butlers begrep om resignifiering bidrar til å synliggjøre pågående endring innenfor musikkproduksjon.
I used to be a «songbird». Resignification and change in popular music productionThe article uses Judith Butlers concept of resignification to study change in popular music production. Seen from the outside, music production appears rather static and heteronormal in terms of who does what in the recording studio. The division of labour, in fact, seems almost law-like, with him in charge of the mixing console (as the producer), and she in charge of the microphone (as the «songbird»). Resignification allows the researcher to analyse change in terms of breaks and ruptures in this somewhat law-like situation, but also how breaks come about. It shows that resignification occurs or manifests in many guises, ranging from speech-acts to bodily movements/postures and musical gestures/events. Resignification, however, should not be studied as a singular event, but as «[mis-] citational chains lived and believed by the level of the body» (Butler 1997:155), and as stylised and/or ritualised misappropriations of norms. Thus, resignification might be seen as constituting realities in much the same way as the conventional processes of signification do. The researcher might also participate in the resignification process, by theoretical interventions, but also by paying attention to, and «re-repeating» those very same misappropriations and miscitations in speech and writing.
The term «songbird» is here used as a translation of the Norwegian term «syngedame», literally «singing lady». «Syngedame» is an ambiguous term that may have both negative and positive connotations. It may refer to the simple fact of a «a woman who sings» (for money), but the term is perhaps more often used in degrading ways, such as to indicate a lower status in the hierarchy of musical positions, in terms of musical capability, authenticiy and credibility, but also in terms of the production process as such. «Songbird» have been suggested as a possible translation of «syngedame», and I use it here in the await of a better or more accurate suggestion.
Keywords: gender, popular music, music production, «songbird», producer, music technologies, performativity, rituals, rites of passage, resignifiation.