Centre for Research in Communication and Culture


29 October 2021

Bodies and data: A new logic of urban institutions?

Presented By Dr Fabian Holt for the CRCC Seminar Series

About this event

Information technologies are becoming increasingly powerful in social life and are challenging conventional analytical and historical categorizations in sociology and other disciplines concerned with the study of urban life. Smartphones and algorithms are now structuring the daily navigation of urban geographies, social relations, and the consumption of food and cultural experiences. This creates new expectations to the urban experience. As anthropologist Shannon Mattern argues in A City is Not a Computer (2021), digital logics alone are insufficient for understanding urban life. In this presentation, I explore how the long history of urban popular music institutions can be interpreted in context of contemporary media and information cultures. I argue that these institutions exist in an economy of neighborhood space and in-person production and consumption. However, these neighborhood institutions have transformed into distribution spaces within a larger economy to which information technology is central: their programming is indirectly structured by algorithmic systems; they have entered the corporate structures of global media markets, and tech industry workers populate the venues and the neighborhood, displaying attitudes of networked individualism.

Fabian Holt teaches in the Department of Arts and Communication at Roskilde University and has held temporary positions at University of Chicago and Humboldt University of Berlin. He is the author of Genre in Popular Music (Chicago 2007) and Everyone Loves Live Music (Chicago 2020) and founding editor of the book series 33 1/3 Europe (Bloomsbury).

Research interests:

  • Sociology of music, culture, and media
  • Young people, digital citizenship, and social inequality
  • Climate change
  • Qualitative methods

Holt is a member of

  • American Sociological Association
  • European Communication Research and Education Association
  • International Association for the Study of Popular Music

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