Digging up Unearthed down-under: a hybrid geography of a musical space that essentialises gender and place

Sophia Maalsen*, Jessica McLean

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Hybrid geographies are well developed in studies of human–nature relations and environmental humanities, but less so in geographies of music and gender. In this article, we use hybrid geographies to frame our critical engagement with Australia's triple j's Unearthed, a publically funded website and radio station that presents new music. Hybrid approaches enable us to understand gendered power relations in music by deconstructing the ways power differences are built on cultural, social, spatial and technological relations. Engaging netnographic and mixed-method approaches we critique Unearthed as a democratic music cyberspace. We identify the limited constructions of gender and geographic location, some of which are unique to this online presence, while others are shared with broader musical spaces. We argue that the interactions between technology, artists, fans and the online spaces, as mediated by Unearthed, situate emerging artists in relation to gender, geography and genre, and thus constrain possibilities for a more democratic musical space. Unearthed manifests as a musical space where rurality is exoticised while urban origins are diminished, and hegemonic masculinities remain dominant. We suggest that the potential of Unearthed can be realised if gender and geographic hegemonies are recognised and otherness is de-essentialised.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418-434
Number of pages17
JournalGender, Place and Culture
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2016


  • Unearthed
  • cyberspace
  • gender
  • hybrid spaces
  • music
  • triple j


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