Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Brazil Initiative

Falina Enriquez - The Mark of a Business: Musical Professionalization in Recife, Pernambuco

Thursday, November 2, 2017

12:00pm – 1:30pm

Joukowsky Forum, Watson Institute, 111 Thayer Street.

This paper focuses on how a specific set of musicians in Recife, Pernambuco present themselves as professionals in order to enhance their social status and better weather the vicissitudes of the music industry and more specifically, the state sponsored music scene. What kinds of semiotic, practical, and legal strategies do these musicians employ to construe themselves as professionals and develop what one of my interlocutors described as “a marca de uma empresa” (the mark of a business)? I use this ethnographic case study to argue that branding is an increasingly integral element of musical professionalization, which is shaping how musicians position themselves within the social order and in relation to the state government. I investigate this example as a means of evaluating how individuals are currently negotiating economic instability and other socioeconomic shifts that scholars have commonly attributed to neoliberal policies and ideologies.