Project Abstract

The research blog Music, sound and conflict explores the political dimension of music and sound in contemporary societies. In particular, it analyses the role of sound and music in dynamics of violence and processes of resistance.

How can the study of sound and music help us to understand political identities, collective violence or struggles for social justice? This project suggests that listening is a tool for exploration of, engagement with and sensorial knowledge of the world. Sound and music are symbolic resources that actors can mobilise to give meaning to their reality and actions. Through the examination of the relationship between sonic practices and political rituals deployed in both democracies and authoritarian regimes, Music, sound and conflict explores the ways in which human societies see themselves, build their collective memory and envisage their futures.

Music, sound and conflict is linked to the SNSF Spark project “Political Ontologies of Music: Rethinking the Relationship between Music and Politics in the Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries”, hosted at Walter Benjamin Kolleg and the Institute of Musicology at the University of Bern. This research project examines the relationship between the ontological assumptions of fifteen composers from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, their political thought and ethical concerns within their compositional practices and musical works. It seeks to understand how composers’ ontological assumptions shape the political possibilities of their music within a specific symbolic order, and explore how musical works and practices can invent new ways of making sense of the common world.