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Migration and Music

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
JournalMusic Research Annual
Issue number0
Early online date14 Jan 2021
Accepted/In press18 May 2020
E-pub ahead of print14 Jan 2021
Published14 Jan 2021


King's Authors


The current sense of crisis in the study of migration and music calls out for a broader contextualisation. The study of migrant culture, for a while, sat comfortably with a structural-functionalist culture concept emphasizing boundedness and stasis, figured as ‘transitional’, ‘adaptive’, evidence of ‘modernisation’ or ‘westernisation’. An orientation towards hybridity in the 1980s began to shake some of these certainties, even it kept others (the normative framework of the nation-state) in place. The article argues that work on refugees and diasporas at around the same time departed from them more radically. The current moment is one in which the final vestiges of language about migrant culture as ‘adaptive’ have been swept away, and in which the populist evocation of a migrant crisis at our gates has posed unsettling challenges. The article explores the tensions in the current literature between an emphasis on migrant creativity and survival, between mobility and motility, and between identity and citizenship.

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