MUS-30049 - Music, Conflict and Social Change
Coordinator: Fiorella Montero Diaz Room: CKF02 Tel: +44 1782 7 34595
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 6
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 733147

Programme/Approved Electives for 2024/25


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2024/25

In today's context of growing inequality, migration and ideological polarization conflict is widespread both in each society and across borders. Racial, ethnic, class, ideological, political, economic and geographic divides and tensions trigger conflict, war, mass protests and active political involvement, transformation and social change. But, what is the role of music in all this? How was and is music used to fuel, defuse and understand social conflict?
Where words fail music can be harnessed to acknowledge trauma, understand the roots of conflict, negotiate social guilt, facilitate public debate and preserve social memory. Music can help communities to confront, challenge and subvert the status quo. However, music can also be employed to acquire political power, manipulate populations, torture individuals and maintain hegemonic systems.
How, when, and why do these roles develop? This module introduces students to theoretical approaches to music, conflict, protest and social change. It will examine the use of music as a tool for conflict transformation, but it also will explore `the dark side' of music by discussing the ways in which music has been associated with manipulation, power, and violence. It will also consider how music technology and the music industry have impacted on the potential of music to generate resistance or submission.
Lectures will introduce students to case studies from various regions of the world, music genres, and socio-political contexts. Tutorials will provide a forum for students to reflect on lectures, contrast theory with their own music experiences, and prepare a unique case study poster (in pairs). [The production of a poster may cost up to about £9 per student, but other cheaper options are available].
The role of music in conflict is only beginning to receive scholarly attention, and this module is a great opportunity to explore new areas of ethnomusicological research.

¿ To introduce themes and issues, methods and approaches, perspectives and debates concerning music, conflict, protest and social change.
¿ To develop students¿ critical understanding of the relationship between music and conflict.
¿ To expose students to the broad array of functions musics of different genres can have in different conflict contexts, geographical settings and periods.
¿ To introduce students to the ways in which music research intersects with politics and culture.
¿ To enable students to respond critically, analytically and actively to current developments in the political and cultural scene from their music research.
¿ To examine more closely how music channels emotion, sentimentality and identity in relation to the roots of conflict.

Intended Learning Outcomes

critically assess issues, methods, approaches, perspectives and debates concerning music, conflict, protest and social change; will be achieved by assessments: 1,2
describe and make critical judgments about the various functions of music in conflict situations; will be achieved by assessments: 1,2
engage with and evaluate pertinent issues and case studies in music and conflict, protest and social change using cultural, political and ethnomusicological theories; will be achieved by assessments: 1,2
apply appropriate theories to selected case studies; will be achieved by assessments: 1,2
contrast music examples from class with own music experience and context; will be achieved by assessments: 1,2
discuss and debate the contents and arguments of selected readings, case studies and ethnographic examples; will be achieved by assessments: 1,2
plan, prepare, conduct and present an original poster with a unique case study; will be achieved by assessments: 1
plan, prepare, conduct and write up an essay critically examining the use of music in conflict situations. will be achieved by assessments: 2

Study hours

10 hours of lectures
12 hours of tutorials (group and one-to-one)
60 hours of lecture and tutorial preparation
68 hours preparation for summative assessments

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Poster weighted 40%
Students will be asked to design and present a poster on a case study familiar to the presenters.
Students will be asked to design and present a poster on a case study familiar to the presenters. Based on academic literature discussed in class, the poster should be illustrated using images and symbols that support the analysis of the case study. Together with the poster, students should submit a brief presentation hand-out and an annotated bibliography.

2: Essay weighted 60%
2500-word essay
2500-word essay. Students will choose from a list of essay questions that will be based on the module content.