Worlding and new music cultures in Shanghai

Xin Gu, Justin O'Connor, Jason Ng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This paper investigates Shanghai's music sub-cultural scene as part of the process of worlding. In Asian cities, until recently outside the mainstream of western commercial music, there is a highly complex and contingent process of catching up with the history of the field, and learning to feel comfortable in inhabiting this space. In Shanghai, this process of ‘catching-up’ is radically compressed, in two senses – the city's relative late development and the limited availability of inner city music venues. This gives rise to what we might call a ‘singularity’ – the kind of compressed space prior to a big bang. Where elsewhere we might see a complex field of different symbolic and economic capitals and musical genres with which they are intertwined, in China, and in our case of Shanghai, these are not yet given space to express themselves. Consequently, to move through the independent, semi-legal venues of Shanghai's music scene is to encounter a compressed richness which, in a few years, may well have become highly segmented and mutually distinctive spaces of a ‘normal’ urban music scene.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100286
Number of pages6
JournalCity, Culture and Society
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Creative industries
  • Cultural capital
  • sub-cultural
  • new music culture
  • shanghai
  • cultural industries
  • cultural policy
  • worlding
  • authenticity
  • cultural intermediary

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