Music Activism in Serbia at the Turn of the Millennium
Counterpublics, Citizenship, and Participatory Art
This paper explores subaltern cultural counterpublics in Serbia in the last three decades, through different forms of performative and participatory music activism: from radio activism, public noise, and performances in public spaces during the 1990s, to self-organized choirs in the 2000s and 2010s. By referring to the concept of citizenship, it emphasizes the importance of the relationship between politicality and performance in the public sphere. Analyzed case studies have shown how subaltern counterpublics brought together aesthetical, ethical, and intellectual positions, challenging principles imposed by the state and the church. Through music activism, cultural counterpublics addressed different social anomies: nationalism, xenophobia, social exclusion, hatred, civil rights, and social justice, becoming a focal point of civil resistance, a discursive arena that provokes and subverts mainstream politics. An interdisciplinary research framework has been achieved through linking music and cultural studies with political sciences and performance studies, then applied to the data gathered from the empirical ethnographic research covering several case studies.