Female labour and leadership in music Contexts, constraints, future(s)


Paraules clau:

women in music, gender stereotypes, gender equality, cultural management, cultural policy, independent music scene


Here we explore the contemporary practices of female participation in the music scenes in Serbia, and to an extent, in the Balkans. This research identified and described the possibilities, gendered constraints, and acts of transgressions that together weave a complex dynamic of female participation in popular music, in relation to the changing field of dominant gender ideologies in Serbia and the surrounding region. This work provides a critical analysis of gender issues in music-making and performing and of the topic of gendered labour in music, by relying on multiple case studies grounded in local contexts. We consider the mores and demands of the music market
and everyday culture, their link to personal experiences, and the reach of the social institutions regarding music. Either as role models or cherished leaders, female musicians employ different tactics to fight stereotypes, strengthen communities, and ensure female participation. This work maps the strategies and tools they have been putting in place in order to sustain their audience, income, and presence to the best possible extent. Bearing in mind the imperative of transforming a standard way of working, communicating with audiences, and maintaining earning potential, this text singles out practices that could be recognised as (female) leadership in contemporary circumstances. We also consider a wider spectrum of roles that female musicians and music professionals have taken on or were awarded within their professional circles, local scenes, communities, or wider society.


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Biografies de l'autor/a

Iva Neni´c, University of Arts in Belgrade

Dr. Neni is an ethnomusicologist and cultural studies scholar. Her research interests concern art and popular culture in the early 21st century, ideology and affective cultural practices, and gendered mechanisms of knowledge production. Her book Gusle players and other female traditional instrumentalists in Serbia: identification by sound (CLIO, Belgrade, 2019) received the An elka Mili award from the Section for Feminist Research and Critical Studies of Masculinity (SEFEM) for a scholarly work contributing to critical gender studies.

Tatjana Nikoli´c, University of Arts in Belgrade

Tatjana is a cultural manager, feminist, and activist behind a series of programmes supporting and advocating for gender equality in the cultural sector. Additionally, she is a researcher and PhD candidate whose PhD thesis is on gender and age equality within the cultural policy of Serbia. Her previous book The Gender Relations in the Alternative Music Scene of Serbia and the Region was published in 2016.


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Com citar

Neni´c, I. and Nikoli´c, T. . (2022) “Female labour and leadership in music Contexts, constraints, future(s)”, Debats. Revista de cultura, poder i societat, 7, pp. 123–138. Available at: https://revistadebats.net/article/view/5515 (Accessed: 28 March 2023).