The concept of scene has long been used by musicians and music journalists to describe the clusters of musicians, promoters and fans, etc., who grow up around particular genres of music. Typically, this everyday usage of scene has referred to a particular local setting, usually a city or district, where a particular style of music has either originated, or has been appropriated and locally adapted. Examples here would include Chicago blues, New Orleans jazz and Nashville Country music, as well as numerous lesser known instances of local musical innovation and production.
Since the early 1990s, the concept of scene has also begun to acquire currency as an academic model of analysis. Scene’s significance in this respect has resulted partly from the criticism and rejection of prior theoretical frameworks used in research on music, and the local, notably subcultural theory (see, for example, Clarke, 1981; Bennett, 1999), and also due to the influential work on ‘‘art worlds’’ and cultural industries (Becker, 1982). Peterson and Bennett (2004) observe as an academic research model that the concept of scene can usefully be subdivided into three categories: local (Cohen, 1991; Shank, 1994), trans-local (Kruse, 1993; Hodkinson, 2002) and virtual (Kibby, 2000; Bennett, 2002). The purpose of this paper is to assess the different ways that scene has been conceptualised in academic research as a means of understanding music as a ‘resource’ in contemporary everyday life.