Freie Universität Berlin

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Luis-Manuel Garcia, Ph.D., Ethnomusicology

The Techno Jetset: Class, Tourism, and Mobility in Berlin’s Electronic Dance Music Scenes

For more than a decade, Berlin's techno clubs have served as destinations for European and international travelers. This project will focus on the recent emergence of “techno tourism” in Berlin (i.e., tourism focused on Berlin’s electronic dance music scenes) as a cultural and commercial phenomenon and also on its entanglement with various forms of spatial and social mobility. This “techno tourism” reflects not only an increase in geographic mobility but also mobility in other registers such as income, career, age-class, and communication technologies. In turn, these trends have given rise to a new tourist class, the shifting contours of which this project will attempt to trace: who are these “techno jet-setters” and how do they compare to classically-defined social classes or to other leisure classes? How do these patterns of tourism intersect with the patterns of gentrification and "creative" labor already unfolding in Berlin? This project aims to contribute to scholarship on mobility, “post-tourism,” gentrification, and flexible labor. Methodologically, this project will draw from a variety of disciplinary approaches, including: ethnographic interviews with “techno jet-setters” as well as members of the hospitality and nightlife industries; analysis of statistical data on tourism and travel; media-analysis of promotional material by nightlife institutions and tourism boards; a close engagement with the discourse produced by fans and critics in magazines, discussion boards, and online communities; and musical analysis of the recordings that circulate along these same transnational networks.