Making a point and making a noise: Pussy Riot a punk prayer

From Law, Culture and the Humanities 

This article highlights the link between law and music and how they matter to each other. Furthermore it identifies how the aesthetic, the legal, and the political are connected. These links are explored through a case study of the trial of Pussy Riot in Moscow during 2012. While the trial achieved some recognition as a political trial it deserves recognition rather as one of the great trials of modern art.

 

Abstract

Recent scholarship in the new interdisciplinary field of law and music has done much to explore the relationship between these two cultural forms, in terms of force and meaning, history and structure. More must now be done to show how they matter to one another, how music can charge a social conflict with political urgency and color it with a distinct emotional timbre. The future lies in developing these research trajectories still more intently: towards the embodied and sonic dimensions of music on the one hand, and towards its contemporary relevance on the other. Such a discussion would have to be alert to the places and times in which music inserts a kind of pressing aesthetic note into the political and juridical process. And it would have to think the aesthetic, the legal, and the political in connection with one another. These propositions are explored through a case study of the trial of Pussy Riot in Moscow during 2012. While the prosecution chose to present the group’s actions as a species of ‘religious hatred,’ the defense characterized them as engaging in ‘political dissent.’ But neither adequately capture the role and meaning of the music and aesthetic elements of the performance of the three women. Yet these were integral to Pussy Riot’s actions. While the trial achieved some recognition as a political trial it deserves recognition rather as one of the great trials of modern art.

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Article details
Desmond Manderson (2013). Making a Point and Making a Noise: A Punk Prayer Law, Culture and the Humanities DOI: 10.1177/1743872113490664

     
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