In Pursuit of Global Harmony: Music as an Approach to Peacebuilding and Social Justice

Pirron, Talia, Global Studies-Security & Justice, University of Virginia
Safdar, Muhammad Tayyab, AS-Global Studies (GLBS), University of Virginia

In recent years, the field of music-based peacebuilding has become increasingly prevalent in academic, NGO, social justice and governmental spaces. While academic interest in this field tends to focus on the theoretical frameworks used to conceptualize the role of music and peacebuilding, there is a gap in the literature about if and how these frameworks are utilized in empirical practice. This thesis seeks to examine this relationship by identifying the ways that practitioners use music in the field, and whether the theoretical frameworks referenced in academic research on this topic are employed in empirical practice. By conducting interviews with a sample of nine experts in the field of music and peacebuilding, it became evident that theoretical frameworks are not widely referenced in empirical work. Rather, experts emphasized other key considerations, including the power of music, community engagement, music’s ambivalence, and music as a way of targeting cultural violence.

BA (Bachelor of Arts)
Music, Peace, Social Justice, Universalism, Peacebuilding
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