The Organisational And Financial Structures Of Underground Music In Turkey


This research is striving to map out the field of underground music in Turkey through a perspective concentrating on the characteristics of organisational and financial structures. Defining the artwork as a result of cooperative activity (Becker, 1984) and all cultural production as socially situated works (Bourdieu, 1993) leads us to our main question: what are the organisational dynamics within which people come together, produce and (in many cases) disperse?
Centring two biggest cities of Turkey, this research is delving into the modus operandi of currently active underground music communities of Istanbul and Ankara. However, it is also a venture to define the well-worn concept of the underground, at least in Turkey. The fluctuant political agenda, tightening accessibility of the public space and the financial decline within last few years blurs the definition of our field. Where we set off to build a description is the point of disinterestedness in shaping the musical work in line with the demand of the popular music industry. However, this attitude does not prevent artists from engaging with this industry and corporate sponsorships. Thus, our second question is as follows: what are the financial dynamics of the underground music production?
In light of these questions, last part of the research is an analysis of the participation of these two focal points in the making of an artwork. A search for their possible affinities with the form and content of the music being produced. In-depth interviews with twenty people representing the variety of roles taken within the field constitutes our data as well as the participant observation of the researcher who is an actor within the field as a radio programmer and DJ. This research is a part of an ongoing MA programme and it will be finalised as a graduation thesis in June 2020.
Becker, Howard S. (1984) Art Worlds. London, Berkeley, Los Angeles: University of California Press.
Bourdieu, Pierre. (1993) The Field of Cultural Production Essays on Art and Literature. Columbia University Press.


Günseli Naz Ferel is currently an MA student in the Department of Sociology at Bogazici University. Focusing on organisational possibilities and conditions, her current research is based on communities building around musical production. As a researcher, radio host and a DJ, her academic interest is in line with her collective experimentations, failures and imaginations of new ways for cooperation and solidarity.

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