Music and Social Movements
We all like music, it seems to be after all an intrinsic characteristic of our human condition. The relation we have with it (music) is often very personal and unique to ourselves. We listen to music at many different times and for many different reasons, but it seems that we just do not cope pretty well without music.
Music has been used for a huge number of porpuses such as demonstrating national pride in anthems or inspiring competitiveness as in sports or just to calm the mind or in religious ceremonies.
In this blog, I want to speak about one particular way that music has been used. I'm referring to the role music has had in the history of socio-political events around the world.
I will try to share some of the most popular demonstrations of musical manifestations within particular times of social upheaval and peaceful social demonstrations in recent history. In some kind of way we will travel around the world to learn about the role of music in different cultural and geographical circumstances and how music has always been a tool of expresión for the collective and not just a few chosen individuals.
Music can be a key component of social movements (understood as an organized effort by a large group of people to achieve a particular goal, typically a social or political one) by expressing and manifesting itself through collective identity, free space, and emotions. A social movement culture may develop as these processes unfold. Music is part of that culture and serves as an important mechanism for solidarity when participants move beyond free spaces to more contested ones.
Music is as important today than it was back in the 60s, 70s, and 80s but the times have changed and the peculiar manifestations of music styles such as folk, rock and spiritual provided back in those decades the kind of glue for social movements concerning race, gender, and peace. Those movements contributed to change the way society feels about many of today’s important issues and acted as a catalyst for institutional change.
Contemporary social movements still find free spaces where music inspires emotions, examples of this can be the Environmental movement or the LGBTQ movement. Many people feel attracted or retain by music and then collective identity arises when people react together to social constrictions. As these processes move forward, music provides a means for solidarity around shared causes and resistances.
There is no doubt music has been and will continue to be a source of inspiration, a tool for action, and a means for bringing up a change there where needed and demanded. In the following blogs, we will get to know some specific examples of how the role of music was fundamental to motivate populations, develop opinions, create momentum, and keep the collective energy high to let a given social movement prosper and succeed in their demands and goals.