Music, Digitization, Mediation: Towards Interdisciplinary Music Studies

Launched in October 2010, Music, Digitization, Mediation: Towards Interdisciplinary Music Studies (MusDig) is a five-year research programme based in the Faculty of Music at Oxford University which examines the wide-ranging changes to music and musical practices afforded by digitization and digital media. The programme is directed by Georgina Born, Professor of Music and Anthropology at Oxford, who is the Principal Investigator (PI). It is supported by funding (1,708,000 Euros) from the European Research Council’s Advanced Investigator Grants scheme.

The programme has two primary and overarching objectives:

  • To carry out an ambitious comparative programme of ethnographic studies of music and digitization in six countries in both the developed and the developing world: Argentina, Canada, Cuba, India, Kenya, and the United Kingdom;
  • To develop a new interdisciplinary theoretical and methodological framework for contemporary music studies, with reference to this empirical research as well as to the anthropology and sociology of music, musicology and media theory.

It also has a third, supplementary objective to be pursued by the PI:

  • To bring this combined research into dialogue with anthropological, social and cultural theory, with the aim of ‘musicalising’ contemporary social theory.

Phase one of the MusDig programme centres on the ethnographic field studies, informed by the overarching interdisciplinary framework, running individually and in parallel. The aim is to cultivate not only strong individual ethnographies through projects developed specifically for each host country, but an ambitious comparative and collaborative dimension to the fieldwork and data analysis. The second phase centres on the analysis and writing-up of ethnographic fieldwork, while engaging in comparison and collaboration across the research group as a whole, as well as post-fieldwork exchanges through the website with some research subjects. This phase entails methodological reflection on what has been learned from the experiment in collaborative ethnography, as well as development of a website to present research findings, music and audio-visual material. In the third phase the individual ethnographic and comparative results will be developed for publication, in part through discussion and dissemination in a series of workshops and conferences.

The research is organised under a set of themes covering different aspects of the transformation of music and musical practices: Creativity and Creative Practices; Circulation; Consumption; Industry and Institutional Restructuring; Intellectual Property; Aesthetics and Genre; Materialities and Literacies; Politics and the Social; Subjectification; and Periodisation.

For further information click here.

Members of the MusDig research group:

Prof. Georgina Born (Director: UK, Canada and India studies, and overview)

Dr. Geoff Baker (Music, RHUL: research associate, Argentina study)

Dr. Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier (post-doctoral research associate, Montreal and Cuba studies)

Dr. Aditi Deo (post-doctoral research associate, India study)

Dr. Andrew Eisenberg (post-doctoral research associate, Kenya study)

Patrick Valiquet (doctoral research associate, Canada study)