Troubling Gender: Youth and Cumbia in Argentina's Music Scene

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Temple University Press, 2011 - Social Science - 217 pages
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Cumbia villera--literally, cumbia from the shantytowns--is a musical genre quite popular with Argentine youth who frequent urban dance halls. Its songs are known for their highly sexualized lyrics--about girls dancing provocatively or experiencing erotic pleasure. The songs exhibit the tensions at play in the different ways people relate to this musical genre. In Troubling Gender, noted sociologists Pablo Vila and Pablo Semán scrutinize the music's lyrics and the singers' and dancers' performances. At the same time, the authors conduct in depth-interviews to examine the ways males construct and appropriate cumbia's lyrics, and how females identify, appropriate, and playfully and critically manipulate the same misogynistic songs. Addressing the relationship between this form of music and the wider social, political, and economic changes that influence the lives of urban youth, Troubling Gender argues that the music both reflects and influences the ways in which women's and men's roles are changing in Argentine society.

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About the author (2011)

Pablo Vila is Professor of Sociology at Temple University. His speciality is the study of processes of social and cultural identification. He researches those processes at two locales, the U.S.-Mexico border and Argentine popular music. He is the author of seven books, including Border Identifications: Narratives of Religion, Gender, and Class on the U.S.-Mexico Border.

Pablo Semán is a researcher at CONICET (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas) in Argentina and El Colegio de México in México. He specializes in mass culture, popular music, and the interpenetration of popular literature and religious tradition. His most recent books are Bajo Continuo: Exploraciones descentradas sobre cultura popular y masiva and (with Daniel Míguez) Entre santos cumbias y piquetes.

Eloísa Martín is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. She is the editor ofCurrent Sociology and has published extensively on popular culture and popular religion in a number of international journals.

María Julia Carozzi is tenured Professor of Anthropology in the Institute of Higher Social Studies at the National University of San Martin (Instituto de Altos Estudios Sociales, Universidad Nacional de San Martín) and tenured researcher at the National Council for Scientific and Technological Research in Argentina (CONICET [Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas]). She is the coeditor (with César Ceriani Cernadas) of Ciencias sociales y religión en América Latina: Perspectivas en debate.

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