Popular Music Heritage, Cultural Memory and Cultural Identity

POPID explores the relationship between popular music and contemporary renderings of cultural identity and local and national cultural heritage in a pan-European context. With a history now stretching back over fifty years, popular music forms such as rock and punk may be as potent a symbol of national or local identity as traditional representations, for example, national and regional insignia, food, drink, and sport. By looking at the articulations of popular music heritage in specific European contexts, POPID examines popular music's contribution to the narratives of cultural identity and representations of cultural memories. Furthermore, it explores how these articulations are represented and negotiated in the business practices of the popular music industry.

The overall aim of the project is twofold: (i) to assess the role played by local popular music, as a mass mediated cultural form, in the negotiation of cultural identity in a local, national, and European context; and (ii) to specify how the European music industry can feed into Europeans audiences’ ongoing connections to local popular music heritage in a way that continues to be meaningful for local audiences.

To this end, the POPID research team will carry out extensive research among archivists, music industry workers and audience members in four countries (Austria, England, the Netherlands and Slovenia), providing a culturally and geographically varied field of research. In each country, the research will zoom into a combination of sites, some of which have rich musical histories and have made a contribution to the national and global music industries, and others which are less readily recognised as having strong local popular music heritage.                       

Research Objectives

  • POPID's objective is to explore the relationship between popular music, cultural identity and heritage. It does so through an examination of the following key questions:What are the connections between cultural memory and articulations of popular music heritage in specific European contexts? How do these relate to popular music audiences’ negotiations of national and local cultural identity?
  • In what ways do such audience representations of national and local cultural identity differ from dominant or official representations of national and local cultural identity?
  • How do localised narratives of national and local identity as these are constructed through the medium of popular music, set the agenda for articulations of national and local cultural identity within a contemporary European and broader global context?
  • How do these localised narratives resonate with official understandings of pan-European identity, or conversely the concept of a 'new' Europe based around micro identities and regionalism?
  • What is the relationship between audiences’ understandings of local popular music heritages and the understandings of cultural industry workers and popular music experts who produce official versions of popular music history in national and international contexts?
  • How can European music industries better respond to audiences’ understandings of local popular music heritages and their willingness to invest in cultural memories? What new markets and possibilities exist for music industries ( e.g., downloading, CD re-issues of previously unreleased obscure popular music, and DVD issues of live performances and documentary material)?                                                                                                                        

Research team

POPID brought together a team of internationally established academics in the fields of popular music studies, sociology of the arts, media research, and cultural studies. Presented below is the research team from the Netherlands (ERMeCC).

Research team

  • prof.dr. (Susanne) MSSE Janssen

    Susanne Janssen is full professor of Sociology of Media and Culture and research director of the Department of Media and Communication at the Erasmus School of…
    prof.dr. (Susanne) MSSE Janssen
  • dr. (Amanda) AMC Brandellero

    dr. (Amanda) AMC Brandellero
  • dr. (Simone) SMR Driessen

    Simone Driessen is an assistant professor in Media & Popular Culture in the Arts & Culture Department of Erasmus University Rotterdam. Before, she…
    dr. (Simone) SMR Driessen


The research team in England was led by Sara Cohen. She was joined in the team by a postdoctoral researcher, Les Roberts, and PhD student Gurdeep John Singh Khabra. The Austrian research team was led by Professor Alfred Smudits. In addition to Alfred Smudits, two Austrian PhD students worked on the project, Rainer Prokop and Thomas Herscht. In 2011 Rosa Reitsamer commenced working on the project. The research team in Slovenia was lead by Dr. Peter Stankovic. He was joined by postdoc Dr. Luka Zevnik and PhD Candidate Natalija Majsova.

This project was funded by the HERA Joint Research Programme


POPID is financially supported by the HERA Joint Research Programme which is co-funded by AHRC, AKA, DASTI, ETF, FNR, FWF, HAZU, IRCHSS, MHEST, NWO, RANNIS, RCN, VR and The European Community FP7 2007-2013, under the Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities programme.



van der Hoeven, A,  Janssen, S. & Driessen, S.  (2016)
Articulations of identity and distinction: The meanings of language in Dutch popular music.
Popular Music and Society 39(1), 43-58.

Bennet, A. & Janssen, S. (2016),
Popular Music, Memory and Heritage
Popular Music and Society, 39(1), 1-7.

Majsova, N. (2016)
The Aesthetics of Slovene Popular Music for Different Generations of Slovene Listeners: The Contribution of Audience Research
Popular music and society, 39(1), 76-96.

Reitsamer, R. (2016)
Not Singing in Tune: The Hor 29 Novembar Choir and the Invention of a Translocal Do-It-Yourself Popular Music Heritage in Austria.
Popular music and society, 39(1), 59-75.


Brandellero, A., van der Hoeven, A. & Janssen, S. (2015)
Valuing Popular Music Heritage: Exploring Amateur and Fan-Based Preservation Practices in Museums and Archives in the Netherlands.
In: S. Baker (ed.) Preserving Popular Music Heritage: Do-it-Yourself, Do-it-Together (pp. 31-45). New York: Routledge.

Brandellero, A. & Pfeffer, K. (2015)
Making a scene: Exploring the dimensions of place through Dutch popular music, 1960–2010
Environment and Planning A. Published online before print August 12, 2015

Khabra, G. (2014)
The heritage of British Bhangra: popular music heritage, cultural memory, and cultural identity.
PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

Reitsamer, R. (2015)
Alternative Histories and Counter-Memories: Feminist Music Archives in Europe.
In: S. Baker (ed.) Preserving Popular Music Heritage: Do-it-Yourself, Do-it-Together (pp. 91-103). New York: Routledge.

Reitsamer, R. & Prokop, R. (2015)
Postmigrantischer HipHop in Österreich. Hybridität – Sprache – Männlichkeit
In: E. Yildiz, and Marc Hill (eds.): Nach der Migration: Postmigrantische Perspektiven jenseits der Parallelgesellschaft (pp. 251-271). Bielefeld: transcript.

Roberts, L., & Cohen, S. (2015).
Mapping cultures: Spatial anthropology and popular cultural memory.
In: N. Duxbury, W.F. Garrett-Petts, D. MacLennan (eds). Cultural Mapping as Cultural Inquiry (pp. 170-192). New York: Routledge.

Van der Hoeven, A. (2015)
Narratives of popular music heritage and cultural identity: The affordances and constraints of popular music memories.
European Journal of Cultural Studies, 1-16, prepublished on 24 November 2015.

Van der Hoeven, A. (2015)
Remembering the 1960s: popular music and memory in Europe
International Journal of Cultural Policy, 21(3), 258-272.

Van der Hoeven, A. & Brandellero, A. (2015)
Places of popular music heritage: The local framing of a global cultural form in Dutch museums and archives.
Poetics, 51, 37-53.

Verboord, M. & Brandellero, A. (2015)
National popular culture in an interconnected world: The case of pop charts.
In: W. de Been, P. Arora, M. Hildebrandt (Eds.), Crossroads in New media, Identity & Law: The Shape of Diversity to Come (pp. 218-236). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.


Brandellero, A., Janssen, S., Cohen, S. & Roberts, L. (2014)
Popular music heritage, cultural memory and cultural identity.
International Journal of Heritage Studies,, 20(3), 219-223. Doi:10.1080/13527258.2013.821624

Brandellero, A. & Janssen, S. (2014)
Popular music as cultural heritage: scoping out the field of practice.
International Journal of Heritage Studies, 20(3), 224-240. Doi:10.1080/13527258.2013.779294

Cohen,S. (2014)
"The gigs I’ve gone to”: mapping memories and places of live music.
In: K. Burland, and S. Pitts. (eds). Coughing and Clapping: Investigating Audience Experience (pp. 132-145). Farnham: Ashgate.

Khabra, G. (2014)
Music in the margins? Popular music heritage and British Bhangra music.
International Journal of Heritage Studies, 20(3), 343-355. Doi: 10.1080/13527258.2012.758652

Reitsamer, R. (2014)
‘Born in the Republic of Austria’ The invention of rock heritage in Austria.
International Journal of Heritage Studies, 20(3), 331-342. Doi:10.1080/13527258.2012.738698

Reitsamer, R. (2014)
Feministische Räume im Wandel der Zeit: Frauenmusikfestivals und Ladyfeste. [Feminist Spaces in the Course of Time: Women's Music Festivals and the Ladyfest.]
In: A. Ellmeier & C. Walkensteiner-Preschl (eds.), SpielRäume. Wissen und Geschlecht in Musik, Theater, Film. Wien, Kolmar, Weimar: Böhlau Verlag.

Roberts, L., & Cohen, S. (2014)
Unveiling Memory: Blue Plaques as In/tangible Markers of Popular Music Heritage.
In: S. Cohen, R. Knifton, M. Leonard and L. Roberts. Sites of Popular Music Heritage (pp. 221-238). New York: Routledge.

Roberts, L. (2014)
Talkin Bout My Generation: Popular Music and the Culture of Heritage.
International Journal of Heritage Studies, 20(3), 262-280. Doi:10.1080/13527258.2012.740497

Roberts, L. (2014)
Marketing Musicscapes, or, the Political Economy of Contagious Magic.
In B. Lashua & K. Spracklen (eds.), Tourist Studies [special issue on Music and Tourism], 14(1).

Roberts, L. & Cohen, S. (2014)
Unauthorizing Popular Music Heritage: Outline of a Critical Framework.
International Journal of Heritage Studies, 20(3), 241-261. Doi: 10.1080/13527258.2012.750619

Stanković, P. (2014)
When alternative ends up as mainstream: Slovene popular music as cultural heritage.
International Journal of Heritage Studies, 20(3), 297-315.  Doi: 10.1080/13527258.2012.754368

Stanković, P. (2014)
Rustic obsessions: The role of Slovenian folk pop in the Slovenian national imaginary.
International Journal of Cultural Studies, 18(6), 645-660.

Van der Hoeven, A. (2014)
Popular Music Memories: Places and practices of popular music heritage, memory and cultural identity. Rotterdam: Erasmus Center for Media, Culture and Communication. (ISBN 978-90-76665-26-9).

Van der Hoeven, A. (2014)
Remembering the popular music of the 1990s: dance music and the cultural meanings of decade-based nostalgia.
International Journal of Heritage Studies, 20(3), 316-330. Doi:10.1080/13527258.2012.738334

Zevnik, L. (2014)
Mapping popular music heritage in Slovenia.
International Journal of Heritage Studies, 20(3), 281-296. Doi: 10.1080/13527258.2012.727454


Brandellero, A. (2013)
Valuing and preserving popular music heritage in the Netherlands.
Boekman. Tijdschrift voor Kunst, Cultuur en Beleid. [Boekman. Journal for Arts. Culture and Related Policy.] 96: Erfgoed: van wie, voor wie? [Heritage: from whom, for whom?].

Cohen, S. (2013)
“From the Big Dig to the Big Gig”: Live Music Performance and Social Change in the European Capital of Culture 2008.
In C. Wergin and F. Holt (eds.), Music Performance and the Changing City: Post-industrial contexts in Europe and the United States. London: Routledge.

Cohen, S. (2013)
Musical Memory, Heritage & Local Identity: Remembering the Popular Music Past in a European Capital of Culture.
International Journal of Cultural Policy, 19(5), 576-594. Doi:10.1080/10286632.2012.676641

Cohen, S. & Roberts, L. (2013)
Heritage Rocks! Mapping Spaces of Popular Music Tourism.
In: S. Kruger & R. Trandafoiu (eds.), The Globalization of Musics in Transit: Musical Migration and Tourism (pp.35-58). London: Routledge.

Herscht, T. (2013)
Populäre Musik aus Österreich in digitalen, multimedialen Archiven. Zur Konstruktion eines nationalen und regionalen Pop-Rock-Erbe. [Popular Music from Austria in Digital, Multimedia Archives. On the Construction of a National and Regional Pop-rock Heritage.]
SWS-Rundschau, 2(53), 171–195.

Majsova, N. (2013)
Popularna glasba za poslušalce v Sloveniji: Ne vrti se nujno tisto, kar se posluša, in ne sliši se nujno tisto, kar se posluša. [Popular music to listeners in Slovenia. It is not necessarily what is on that gets listened to, and the other way around.]
Glasbena revija Glasna. [Glasna Music Journal.]

Reitsamer, R. & Prokop, R. (2013)
HipHop Linguistics, Street Culture und Ghetto-Männlichkeit: Zur Bedeutung von postmigrantischem HipHop in Österreich. [HipHop Linguistics, Street Culture and Ghetto- Masculinity: The meaning of post migrant HipHop in Austria.] 
P/art/icipate – Producing culture actively. eJournal of the program area Contemporary Arts & Cultural Production, 2.

Roberts, L. (2013)
Marketing Musicscapes, or, the Political Economy of Contagious Magic.
Tourist Studies, 1-20. Doi:10.1177/1468797613511683  

Stanković, P. (2013)
Kaj pa pop?: zgodovina in zgodovine slovenske popularne glasbe. [What is pop?: History and Histories of Slovene Popular Music.]
Družboslovne razprave, 29(72), 65-84.

Verboord, M. & Brandellero, A. (2013)
Globalisering in popmuziekhitlijsten in negen landen, 1960-2010. [Globalization in Pop Music charts in nine countries, 1960-2010.]
Tijdschrift voor Communicatiewetenschap [Journal for Communication Science.], 4, 364-386. Doi: 10.5553/TCW/138469302013041004004

Zevnik, L. (2013)
Dediščina slovenake popularne glasbe. [The Heritage of Slovene Popular Music.] 
Glasbena revija Glasna.[Glasna Music Journal.]

Zevnik, L. (2013)
Materialni pogoji in diskurzi dediščine popularne glasbe v Sloveniji. [Material conditions and discourses of popular music heritage in Slovenia.]
Družboslovne razprave, 29(72), 85-103.


Cohen, S. (2012)
Bubbles, Tracks, Borders and Lines: Mapping Popular Music, Genre and Urban Environments.
Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 137(1), 135-171.

Cohen, S. (2012)
Live Music and Urban Landscape: Mapping the Beat in Liverpool.
Social Semiotics 22(5), 587-603. Doi: 10.1080/10350330.2012.731902

Cohen, S. (2012). 
Urban Musicscapes: Mapping Music-Making in Liverpool.
In L. Roberts (ed.), Mapping Cultures: Place, Practice, Performance. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Herscht, T. (2012)
The past sure is tense.
Malmoe, 59, 16.

Hoeven, A. van der (2012)
The popular music heritage of the Dutch pirates: illegal radio and cultural identity.
Media, Culture & Society34(8), 927–943.

Reitsamer, R. & Prokop, R. (2012)
„Da Hofa“ woar’s ned! Fragmente österreichischer Popmusikgeschichte. [,,Da Hofa" woar's ned! Fragments of Austrian Pop music history.]
Stimme – Zeitschrift der Initiative Minderheiten83, 8-10.


Barber-Kersovan, A., Huber, H. & Smudits, A. (eds.). (2011) 
West Meets East: Musik im interkulturellen Dialog. [West meets East: Music and Intercultural Dialogue.] Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Brandellero, A. & Pfeffer, K. (2011)
Multiple and shifting geographies of world music.
Area, 43(4), 495-505. DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2011.01057.x

Gebesmair, A. (2011).
Die Kulturellen Konsequenzen der Globalisierung. Eine Produktionsbezogene Perspektive.
KZfSS-Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychology, 63(51), 169-195.

Hoeven, A. van der (2011)
Knokken voor het levensliedDe voortdurende strijd van etherpiraten voor het Nederlandstalige lied. [Pirate Radio: Defending Dutch Language Music.]
Boekman. Tijdschrift voor Kunst, Cultuur en Beleid. [Boekman. Journal for Arts, Culture and Related Policy.] 88 Volkscultuur? [Popular Culture?], 69-75.

Janssen, S., Verboord, M. & Kuipers, G, (2011)
Comparing cultural classification.
KZfSS-Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychology, 63(51), 139-168.

Reitsamer, R. (2011)
Anerkennung und Geschlecht im kulturellen Feld. Zur Unterrepräsentanz von DJ-Frauen in elektronischen Musikszenen. [Recognition and gender in the cultural field. The under-representation of female DJs in electronic music scenes.]
Österreichische Zeitschrift für Soziologie (ÖZS), 36(3), 39-48. Doi: 10.1007/s11614-011-0049-4

Reitsamer, R. (2011)
DIY or DIE? Do-It-Yourself-Karrieren, Netzwerke und Netzwerksozialität am Beispiel elektronischer Musikszenen. [DIY or DIE? Do-It-Yourself Careers, Networks and Network Sociability in Electronic Music Scenes.]
In C. Apprich & F. Stadler (eds.), Vergessene Zukunft. Radikale Netzkulturen in Europa. [Forgotten future. Radical networking cultures in Europe.] (pp. 245-252)Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag. 

Reitsamer, R. (2011) 
The DIY Careers of Techno and Drum‘n‘Bass DJs in Vienna.
Dancecult: Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture, 3(1), 28-43.


Schmutz, V., Venrooij, A. van, Janssen, S. & Verboord, M. (2010)
Change and continuity in Newspaper Coverage of Popular Music since 1955: Evidence from the United States, France, Germany and the Netherlands. 
Popular Music and Society, 33(4), 501-515.

Research Localities

POPID takes a comparative perspective on the experiences and understandings of local popular music heritage, cultural memory and identity, and the relationship of local audiences to the music industry. Twenty localities across the four partner countries have been identified, allowing the research team to zoom into a culturally and geographically varied field of research. The localities vary in their contribution to and representations in popular music heritage at the local, national and global levels, as well as in their links to national and global music industries.

More information about the POPID localities can be found below. 

Five key sites have been selected in Austria:


(population: 1,691,468) is the most important metropolitan area for popular music production, partly due to Austria’s centralised structure. It is home to the major labels and most of the independents, the largest broadcasting organizations, and almost all regulatory bodies. Austria’s most important pop music acts were/are based and produced in Vienna (e.g. W. Ambros, Falco, R. Fendrich, K. Ostbahn, C. Stürmer). Austria’s second and third largest cities and federal state capitals,


(population: 252,867) and


(population 189,500), both federal state capitals, have also been central to the country’s pop music history, particularly in the early 1980s with their dynamic new wave scenes (e.g. Willi Warma). The 90s saw the emergence of internationally successful punk acts (e.g. Red Lights Flash, Attwenger, Wipe Out), replaced in more recent years by rap and electronic music. While popular music in the more rural federal states of


(population: 704,472) and


(population: 559,891) is rather marginal, the former contributed significantly to the German Schlager (so called Volkstümliche Musik), distributed in German speaking countries  and the Netherlands (e.g. ZillertalerSchürzenjäger).

Four key sites have been selected in Slovenia:


(population: 276,091), the country’s capital and largest country, is home to a substantial scene of alternative and urban music genres (underground rock, punk and hardcore punk, experimental music, hiphop etc.).


(population:113,113), the country’s second largest city, is by contrast more musically conservative, usually combining contemporary music formats with more traditional ones (e.g. the long-standing band Lačni Franc, and its singer Zoran Predin).


(population: 51,354), capital of Slovenia's Mediterranean region, was one of former Yugoslavia’s most progressive regions in popular music terms during the socialist era (e.g. the 60s bands Kameleoni, Buldožer), particularly due to the influence of neighbouring Italy. The region’s strong Istrian minority is visible via many pop and rock bands and their use of its distinctive dialect.

Murska Sobota

(population: approximately 20,000) is the capital of the mainly rural Prekmurje region, located at the country’s North-Western edge and counting a strong Hungarian minority. The regional bands are credited with a unique combination of most contemporary alternative rock with traditional local music genres.

The five sites in the Netherlands are:


(population: 743,600) is the Dutch capital and main cultural center. It dominates the country’s popular music in terms of number and variety of venues, concentration of artists and record labels. The city has produced a diversity of scenes, from alternative rock, dance, hip-hop, jazz, world music, to the traditional Dutch ‘levenslied’ (e.g. Andre Hazes). Hilversum, in close proximity, is home to the Dutch radio- and television industry.


(population: 533,910) is originally a 'working class’ city and has in the past decades become the most ethnically diverse city of the Netherlands. The city’s contribution to national popular music gained momentum in the 1990s, with the emergence of strong dance, house (e.g. DJ Ferry Corsten) and urban and hip hop scenes (e.g. Postman, Def Rhymz).

The Hague

(population: 475,680) is considered the birthplace of Dutch rock music because in the 1950s Indo rock – played by Indonesian immigrants – and 1960s beat music (reaching international success with the bands Shocking Blue, Golden Earring, and Earth & Fire). Nowadays, the city’s still hosts respectable venues (Paard van Troje), artists (Kane, Anouk), festivals (Parkpop), and a lively local pop scene.

The Achterhoek/Liemers

(population: ±300,000) is a rural region located in the eastern part of the Netherlands bordering Germany. Popular music in this region is generally unpretentious, mainly drawing on grassroots musical styles, both of Dutch/German origin (schlagers, ‘hoempa’) and American (country, blues), the most prolific example being the band Normaal.


(population: 1,122,434) is the Southernmost province bordering Belgium and Germany. In the past, popular music here has been influenced of the German schlager tradition. Nowadays, local artists either go mainstream, or accent their local identity in both language and music (e.g. Rowwen Hèze).

External Partners

POPID is supported by an advisory panel of internationally established academics in the field of popular music studies, sociology and cultural studies. The panel will provide intellectual support and advice, and provide broader international context to the topic under examination.

The panel consists of:

- Professor Timothy Dowd (Emory University, USA)
- Professor Tia de Nora (University of Exeter, UK)
- Professor Andy Bennett (Griffith University, Australia)
- Professor Motti Regev (The Open University, Israel)

Additionally, Professor Andy Bennett has successfully applied for funding at the Australian Research Council to run a parallel research project in Australia, enhancing POPID's international angle. 

POPID Partners

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