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The Three Nexal registers: Identity, peripheral cultural industry, alternative cultures

Nikola Janović and Rastko Močnik

11.4. Peripheral cultural industries and the nexus as their social support

One can certainly not envisage the possibility of peripheral cultural industries without the support of nexuses. As the nexus is a global reality, it should not only be envisaged as a geo-political space, for example, as the “routes” along which people from Italy or Greece or Turkey or Yugoslavia have been expanding across Europe. It should rather be conceived as a socio-structural phenomenon, namely , as an overlapping, heterogeneous and “deep” network of migrations, exchanges, cultural flows that certainly are locally over-determined, but which essentially  pertain to the vagaries of the capitalist world-system. Between the view that embraces the short-term episodic time of migration, settlement, return, and the sub-continental geopolitical space of cities, countries, and regions, on the one side – and, on the other side, the “longue durée” structural time of the world-systemic space, one feels that a medium category should be inserted. This “conjunctural” medium scope would catch cyclical rhythms of the global system – how first people from the South migrated to the North, how this flow has flourished and then receded, how later the East opened up for migration flows  with the West, and the like phenomena pertaining to the ups and downs of the cyclical movement of global capitalism.

Having adopted this layered epistemic model of TimeSpace realities,XXVIII we can start to develop the concept of nexus as a phenomenon that can most suitably be studied in the conjunctural “cyclical TimeSpace” and in the systemic “structural TimeSpace”.

Peripheral cultural industries, being vitally dependent on the social reality of the nexus, produce their goods in a much closer and more intensive relation with their audiences than, for instance, global entertainment industries of the Hollywood type with their abstract stereotypisation and homogenisation. This distinctive feature seems particularly salient on two characteristic points: in the literary dimension of the neo-folk songs, and in the specific dialectic between peripheral cultural industries and their nexus social context. In transformations of the genre-grid of the literary component of the neo-folk songs, one literary can read the socio-structural and ideological transformations of their audiences. As to peripheral cultural industries, the commodification they promote does not trigger the homogenizing effects so typical of the mainstream entertainment industries. Social dialectics here seems much more complex: on the one side, imposed upon the nexus for purely commercial reasons, neo-folk has “colonised” its cultural, ideological and mental spaces to the point to become by far its most important cultural dimension; on the other hand, though, nexus definitely transforms the immediate output of the industry, in a way that transcends simple effects familiar to the sociology of reception.

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