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Music, Media, and Subjectivity: On The Limits of Determinism Open Access


Other title
music, media, subjectivity, lacan, music technology, phonograph, recording techniques, mashups, nostalgia, zizek
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Vallee, Mickey
Supervisor and department
Henry Klumpenhouwer (Music)
Rob Shields (Sociology)
Examining committee member and department
Will Straw (Art History & Communication, McGill)
Leo Mos (Psychology)
Doug Aoki (Sociology)
Jan Jagodzinsky (Secondary Education)
Department of Music and Department of Sociology

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This thesis explores the limitations of determinism in regards to music, media, and the constitution of subjectivity. Its methodological resource is derived from a synthesis between media ecology, social psychoanalysis, and music semiotics. The case studies describe the incorporation of nostalgia into popular music ballads, the domestication of the phonograph, the contemporary trend of mashups, and the studio technique of backmasking. The conclusion asks that we readjust our approach to music, media, and subjectivity to account for the possibility of creative acts that are bound within a network of determinants. I use, finally, the writings of Maurice Merleau-Ponty to explore the body as a primary site of indeterminate mediation, which renders possible for the subject a potential of creative embodied expression.
License granted by Mickey Vallee ( on 2010-04-09T16:27:35Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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