Matthias London


Electronic Dance Music Cultures

I believe that it is through narratives that we juggle the sense-making game we call “life.” And as long as colonial, capitalist, patriarchal, and heteronorm macro-narratives are (mis)used as ideological tools to condition vast parts of society into putting a singular universal Eurocentric lifestyle on a pedestal, I see it as my obligation to use my privileged positionality to dismantle them.

– Narrative Methods –

– Field of Research –

As an enthusiastic music-lover and frequent club-goer, the field from which I excavate counter-narratives comes from the one I am most familiar with – the field of electronic dance music cultures (EDMC). Here I see both a need to unearth intersecting oppressions on nightlife personas as well as an enormous potential for egalitarian social change.

Ever since its offspring in the early 1970s of New York’s disco scene, electronic dance music cultures (EDMC) have played a pivotal role in individual and collective identity construction, particularly for the oppressed. Facilities hosting dance events make an effort to create safe spaces that reflect the normative ideal of equality and tolerance in front of the bass. Although agents in the EDMC field face the impossibility of translating this ideal into reality, nighttime cultural activities in clubs and festivals remain an essential lever for individuals to claim their body, identity, and path to themselves.

– EDMC & Identity –

– Academic Vision –

As a cis, German, white, male my privileged positionality grants me a voice that I intend to use wisely. We need more research in non-European contexts that uses epistemological paradigms that break with allegedly universal Eurocentric social theory, such as postcolonial, decolonial, (black) feminist, or queer theory. Researching the impact of EDMC on the individuals and collective construction of identity and forging powerful counter-narratives from my research participants, I hope to generate accessible knowledge that furthers the decolonial project and ultimately leads to more just societies.


– Research –

Argumentative essay using the South African Return to the Source festival as a case study to argue that it excludes people of color by linking participation with social class privilege.

Empirical essay using an interview with one Search Festival organizer to include (electronic dance) music in Mbembe's Afropolitanism.

Streaming services have shaped the music industries. Artists are facing novel economic hurdles that alienate them from their artistic identity. This is happening globally. What can we do empower artists?

Empirical paper that applies Bourdieu's field theory to the context of EDM in Georgia using five qualitative interviews.

Assessing the impact of ones social situatedness on field research in nightlife settings.

Application of Stuart Hall's Encoding/Decoding model of communication onto the Georgian "Raveolution" to outline dominant cultural hegemonic order.