Hybridity, empowerment and subversiveness in Cantopop electronic dance music

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    7 Citations (Scopus)


    This essay examines "Cantopop electronic dance music," a term that collectively designates the several sub-genres of electronic dance music which originated in Hong Kong. This electronic dance music emerged in 1998 and became the dominating club music in Greater China in the early 2000s. While scholars have positively appraised numerous aspects and subgenres of Cantopop they have never paid attention to local genres of electronic dance music. Popular music critics and professional musicians in Greater China also dismiss Cantopop electronic dance music as insincere or incompetent imitations of global (i.e., European and American) electronic dance music. In this essay I show that Cantopop electronic dance music has valuable sociocultural characteristics and I elaborate on what they are. Although this dance music has not inherited the many desirable sociocultural properties of Western electronic dance music, it has gained new ones through processes of cultural hybridization. I will illustrate, through analyzing a range of clubbing practices that hybridize singing with dancing, how Cantopop electronic dance music empowers local audiences by giving them a central role in music reproduction. Through examining the remixing of electronic dance tracks by local DJs and the rewriting of lyrics of dance tracks by local clubbers, I will explicate how local actors ingeniously hybridize, appropriate and re-articulate local and global musical materials.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)139-151
    Number of pages13
    JournalVisual Anthropology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Cultural Studies
    • Anthropology


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