Reflections on Music and Identity in Ethnomusicology

Posted: November 27, 2012 in American Folk lore, Miscellaneous, Timothy Rice

Author: Timothy Rice

Source: Ethnomusicology, 7-2007



The relationship between music and identity became a commonplace theme in ethnomusicology beginning in the early 1980s. This article surveys all 17 articles published in the journal Ethnomusicology in the last 25 years with the word “identity” in the title in order to understand how ethnomusicologists have treated this subject. The survey reveals that the authors of these articles neither cite the general literature on identity nor one another. As
a consequence, this article takes on the task of analyzing the ethnomusicological  literature around basic questions found in the general literature, including what is identity, where does identity come from, how many identities do we
possess, how is identity created, and who defines and institutionalizes identity. It concludes with some reflections on what music contributes to the construction and symbolization of identity.”


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