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date: 08 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines issues surrounding social justice in social media and music making. The first part of the chapter frames social media as holding the potential to enact democratic practice. Using the work of Jean-Luc Nancy’s concept of “listening” and Peter Szendy’s concept of “arrangement,” the author explores how viral videos and their user-generated covers might be a form of communication and sharing of ideas. This is investigated particularly through the different iterations of the 2012 hit song and video “Call Me Maybe” and the ways users created and circulated parodies. The second part of the chapter undoes this sanguine reading of democracy through social media. It does this, first, by exploring how market forces of profit seeking work to intervene in this process. Through this exploration, the author notes how market forces form the desires and subjectivity of users so that practices that feel like expression of desires are urged on by market forces for the benefit of the market. Then, the chapter looks at how viral videos are constrained by identity politics, and it explores this through covers of Beyoncé’s “Formation,” particularly what happens when this song and video—which is an articulation of black feminist identity—were (mis)appropriated and covered by a white male. Finally, the author addresses the implications for music learning both in and out of school by borrowing from media literacy to develop what he deems “musical social media literacy.”

Keywords: social justice in music education, social media, viral videos, participatory culture, democracy in music education

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