Musical Agency of Young Refugees

Hagmann, Lea Salome; Simonett, Helena (20 August 2018). Musical Agency of Young Refugees (Unpublished)

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During the peak of the recent “refugee crisis” in 2015, thousands of people have fled war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa to seek protection and a better future in Europe. A large proportion of these refugees are underage children and youths, many of whom arrived without their parents. With a focus on social-economic concerns of forced migration, only scant attention has been given to refugees’ cultural and musical activities. Particularly, in academia, research concerning music-making amongst refugee children is almost absent; however, preliminary studies conducted by members of the present project team have shown that research in “musicking” by young refugees, i.e. engaging with music (and dance) as performative acts (Small 1998), is an essential key to understanding the way these youths construct and express their identities and improve their wellbeing and their cultural inclusion in their host countries (Simonett 2017; Hemetek & Kölbl 2017).

This research project investigates young refugees’ modes of cultural survival and bereavement and the construction of new social identities amidst an unknown world. At the core are unaccompanied and separated minors and young asylum-seekers and their ways of navigating their new environments musically. The most pressing questions that emerge are: How exactly do music and dance shape young refugees’ experiences and affect their social agency and self-empowerment? How do young people construct their social identities through and with music? How do they develop their social interactions in different communities (e.g. asylum centers) and musical scenes?

Item Type:

Working Paper


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Musicology

UniBE Contributor:

Hagmann, Lea Salome


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 370 Education
700 Arts > 780 Music




Lea Salome Hagmann

Date Deposited:

20 Jun 2019 10:21

Last Modified:

20 Jun 2019 10:21

Uncontrolled Keywords:

refugees music identity bereavement cultural survival


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