Simon McKerrell – Kicking metaphors of the body around in the mediation of Self and Other

Video of Simon McKerrell (Newcastle University, UK) of his keynote at the Football, Politics and Popular Culture conference, Limerick (2017).  This is the first keynote of the conference and focused on football and music

Kicking metaphors of the body around in the mediation of Self and Other

Simon McKerrell – Newcastle University – simon.mckerrell@newcastle.ac.uk

Football and music are both ubiquitous in contemporary society, and similarly
ubiquitously devalued in the humanities and social sciences. This rests upon both their
very vernacular omnipresence in our culture, but also is the result of deeper shared
connection to our somatic presence in the world. The practice of sport is fundamentally a somatic practice, as much as music is a sonic practice; both set apart from the dominant
linguistic and textual currency of the humanities and social sciences. Part of the power of
football and its songs, chants and tunes is in its double-sided agency to construct social
belonging and division. The power of gendered, racial, ethnic and political constructions
of Self and Other do not simply emerge in text and talk but for football and music, are
deeply embedded in our somatic sense of Self and the visceral connection to others. This
is reflected in the plural and disjointed disciplinary locations of football and music within the academy, neither a discipline, yet both vital everyday practices in our lives. Focusing in on the metaphorical use of somatic or embodied multimodal discourse can reveal some important connections between our embodied Self, and crucially, how we construct social distance between our Selves and Others. I argue that this attention to the
metaphorical and somatic discourse of songs, chants and tunes about football can reveal
the deeply felt, visceral agency of our bodies and should that these sorts of everyday
cultural expressions of Self and Other should be at the centre of disciplinary
understandings of society, gender, race, and politics both precisely because of their
ubiquity but also because of what they reveal about our socially constructed embodied
lives.
Dr Simon McKerrell has interdisciplinary research interests focused upon the social semiotics and communication of music, belonging, sectarianism and cultural heritage and how these relate to policy. He is the author of Focus: Scottish Traditional Music (Routledge), and the Co-Editor of both Music as Multimodal Discourse: Media, Power and Protest (Bloomsbury) and Understanding Scotland Musically: Folk, Tradition, Policy (Routledge). He is currently Head of Music at the International Centre for Music Studies at Newcastle University and has previously held positions at the Universities of Sheffield, Glasgow and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and prior to this worked at the National Piping Centre in Glasgow. He is an expert performer of Highland-, Border- and Uilleann-pipes and has toured, taught and performed throughout the world and recorded twelve commercial albums.

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