Fabian Holt forsvarer sin doktordisputats

A Better Place for Music? The Social Study of Musical Performance Institutions
Start:kl. 13.00
Slut:kl. 17.00
Sted: Roskilde University, Department of Communication and Arts, Universitetsvej 1, Auditorium 46


  • Prof. Anne Elisabeth Sejten, Roskilde University (committee chair)
  • Prof. David Hesmondhalgh, University of Leeds
  • Prof. Thomas James Solomon, University of Bergen

Chair of defense: Julie Sommerlund, Dean of the Humanities, Roskilde University

Opponents ex auditorio can register with Julie Sommerlund prior to the defense at sommerlund@ruc.dk or during the intermission.

Copies of the dissertation can be found at Roskilde University’s library.


The extraordinary development of live music in cultural and economic life during the first decades of the twenty-first century is subject of growing interest in the humanities and social sciences. This dissertation responds to the lack of critical and historically grounded approaches to the topic and to the similarly lack of comprehensive explorations of the field. It introduces a systematic conception of the field and argues that live music has evolved through the commercial institutionalization of musical performance in a unique set of conditions, but that this process and field have a longer history in urban culture markets. The dissertation is grounded in music studies and sociology, while also drawing from performance and festival studies, cultural history, and media studies.

Central to the framework is the concept of performance institutions, which helps overcome atomistic understandings of performance culture and of culture more broadly. This concept is developed and employed in comparative and historical analyses of the changing outlook and functions of two central institutions of popular music—the club and the festival—in the United States and Europe. The analyses further provide insight into the broader relationship between culture, community, and organized life in modernity.

Fabian Holt

Fabian Holt is associate professor in the Department of Communication and Arts. He has previously held positions at University of Copenhagen, University of Chicago, Columbia University in the City of New York, and Humboldt University of Berlin. He is author of Genre in Popular Music (2007), founding editor of Bloomsbury’s book series 33 1/3 Europe, and board member with Journal of the American Musicological Society. The dissertation is being published by Chicago with a slightly different title:



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