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How is cultural activity shaped by the places where it unfolds? One answer has been found in the ‘scenes perspective’, a development within popular music studies that explains change and transformation within musical practices in terms of the social and institutional histories of scenes. Scene Thinking: Cultural Studies from the Scenes Perspective takes up this framework – and the mode of analysis that goes with it – as an important contribution to cultural analysis and social research more generally.
In a series of focused case studies – ranging across practices like drag kinging, Bangladeshi underground music, urban arts interventions and sites like single performance venues, urban neighbourhoods in various states of gentrification, and virtual networks of game consoles in countless living rooms – the authors demonstrate how ‘scene thinking’ can enrich cultural studies inquiry. As a humanistic, empirically oriented alternative to network-based social ontologies, thinking in terms of scenes sensitizes researchers to complex, fluid processes that are nonetheless anchored and made meaningful at the level of lived experience. This book was originally published as a special issue of Cultural Studies.