G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)
Woman, artist, other : female folk singers in the media (2020)

Karjalainen, N. (2020). Woman, artist, other : female folk singers in the media [Doctoral dissertation]. Jyväskylän yliopisto. JYU Dissertations, 176. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8003-0

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Karjalainen, Noora

eISBN: 978-951-39-8003-0

Journal or series: JYU Dissertations

eISSN: 2489-9003

Publication year: 2020

Number in series: 176

Number of pages in the book: 1 verkkoaineisto (100 sivua, 89 sivua useina numerointijaksoina)

Publisher: Jyväskylän yliopisto

Place of Publication: Jyväskylä

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: English

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8003-0

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel


The aim of this dissertation is to show how the media representation of female folk singers is constructed. To find out what kinds of narratives emerge from it, it is important to understand that this media representation is based on processes of remembering and premediation. Methods of close reading and analysis were applied in examining concert and album reviews, interviews and articles written about four contemporary female folk singers: Julie Fowlis, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Emily Portman and Kate Rusby. The findings show how deeply embedded in cultural memory the presentation of a female folk singer is and how extensively it is used in constructing media representation of these singers. The analysis of the research material yielded four thematic narratives in the singers’ media representation. The narrative of origins constructs the female folk singer as a nostalgic, romanticised character. Together with the narrative of professionalism, it forms the narrative of authenticity in this media representation process. The narratives of performance emerge from the descriptions of the singers’ voices, singership (the singers’ artistry combined with the act of singing), and the music itself and are studied particularly for how construct gender in the singers’ media representation. The narratives of origins, authenticity and performance come together in the narrative of the Cosy Other, highlighting the power structures in the construction of the media representation of female folk singers. The research results suggest that 21st-century western, anglophone and Celtic female folk singers are primarily represented in the media as women artists. Their gender and artistry intertwine in their media representation, which is governed by the active process of cultural remembering. A media representation such as this is constructed via the transculturality of cultural remembering, its incessant “travelling” between and across places, social groups, media sources and time. The influence of premediation in the process shows in the very similar representation constructed in media texts across different publication forums. The studied singers’ standing and prominence in the contemporary anglophone and Celtic folk music scene, and the recurrent themes in the media texts written about them testify to a wider phenomenon that concerns not only them but also other female artists of the same genre.

Keywords: media; representation (mental objects); folk (pop music); folk music (traditional music); women; gender; female singers; nostalgia; authenticity

Free keywords: mediarepresentaatio; naisartistit; mukava toiseus; kulttuurinen muisti

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

Last updated on 2021-07-07 at 21:31