mercredi, mars 14, 2007

Choose Your Own Adventure

That was the main title of a paper I was planning to submit to the next meeting of SEM (Society for Ethnomusicology), which will be in Columbus OH this fall. In the end, I went with something different. Here are the various versions I considered before making my final choice:

  1. Choose Your Own Adventure: Self-Selection, Exclusion and Crowd Control in Parisian Nightclubs
  2. Self-Selection for Less Rejection: The Management and Self-Management of Crowds in Parisian Nightclubs
  3. "Sorry, you're not on the list": [subtitle from #1]

In the end, I took the subtitle from #1 and added the French equivalent of #3 (roughly speaking) to get this: "Desolé, c'est pas possible": Self-Selection, Exclusion and Crowd-Design in Parisian Nightclubs. And, in case you're interested, here's the amazingly brief abstract I submitted. For those of you who are not familiar with SEM, they have a very strict 250 word-count limit, which I respect and appreciate, but which can be a real pain in the ass when you have a lot of say. Thankfully, I managed to be very compact this time.

Nightclubs in Paris, as in many other large cities, trade not only on the design of their space and the music that fills it, but also on the clientele that pass through their doors. While the image of nightclub bouncers enforcing exclusive door policies is a common trope, this is not the only nor even the primary means of "designing" a crowd. Extending from arguments made by Sarah Thornton in her book, Club Cultures (1995), I will argue that crowd-design begins with a combination of self-selection and selective advertising; while rejection at the door plays an important role in motivating self-selection, the actions of club promoters and potential clubgoers help sublimate techniques of exclusion that often operate on criteria of distinction such as class, wealth, race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality.

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