“I decided to stay here because of music”: sensing sonically a (possible) new home

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In this paper I discuss how music discourses inform senses of familiarity with the host society and inform decisions of belonging among refugees in Greece. These senses are particularly facilitated by the recognition of common patterns developed across space and time other from the moment of physical encounter of a refugee with what constitutes “host society”.
In public discourses refugees are mostly depicted as culturally non-belonging to the society where they apply for asylum, and therefore as an aberration of what is regarded as constituting cultural normality of a nation-state (see Stolcke 1995). Such representations are further encouraged by the implemented policies that contribute to the marginalization of refugees.
However, this static, bounded reality implied by such perceptions, contradicts with the “space continuum” shaped by humans on the move (see Gupta and Ferguson 2002).
My interlocutors, while embodying the “space continuum”, have also bodily experienced exclusions, and they are still working their way into host society. Yet, their narratives around their belongings counterpoint the borders that have marked them, focusing on what is shared across space, throughout time. How does music facilitate senses of belongings surpassing lived multiple exclusions? How does music orient us to alternative perceptions of a bounded reality?
Based on interviews with refugees, the paper shows how they construct narratives of belonging incorporating physical and musical movement. Furthermore, through an examination of refugees’ musical practice/consumption, I argue that music serves as a canvas where movement can be traced and shape aa perspective of potential coexistence.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2021
EventBFE/RMA Research Students' Conference 2021 - University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Duration: 12 Jan 202114 Jan 2021


ConferenceBFE/RMA Research Students' Conference 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

Bibliographical note

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  • refugees
  • musicking
  • belonging


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