Academic journal article Global Media Journal

Sociology of Music in Russia in the Context of Globalization and National Identity

Academic journal article Global Media Journal

Sociology of Music in Russia in the Context of Globalization and National Identity

Article excerpt


Sociology of music is aimed at identifying the peculiarities of music as an art in the society. However, nowadays due to the processes of globalization the question has raised in theoretical sociology: is it legitimate to identify the word "community" with the national state formation, and hence how relevant is the problem of national identity in modern sociological research? But is there any contradiction between sociology having its own subject, aims, tools, and some typical features of different peoples of different countries and regions of the world entering it? [1].

One possible answer to this question was given by A.M. Kuznetsov based on the critical analysis of the "cosmopolitan community" concept by Ulrich Beck [2] in his opposition to methodological nationalism. He came to the conclusion that such a question is a problem of Western European social science: "Because of its radical Universalist nature this discourse, ignoring the specifics of non-European regions, is likely to remain a mostly Western European phenomenon. Moreover, it can soon become another example of "methodological nationalism" from which British and German social theorists have persistently tried to get rid of" [3]. No wonder that the President of the International Sociological Association, P. Sztompka, among real problems of modern theoretical sociology gives priority to the problems of globalization and identity while stressing the particular importance of sociology of art [4]. But how is this problem solved in the Russian sociology of music? And how does the relevant research contribute to modern sociology? Since the variety and complexity of problems of modern sociology have come from the pre-scientific period, we will touch upon some aspects of the so-called pre-sociological phase of music sociology, its long past, which plays the role of "ordinary experience, art impressions and philosophical reflection" [5].

The Primary Forms of Socialization and Emergence of National Identity in the Russian Music and Music Culture

We do not know how the primitive music sounded, but the facts at our disposal can be used and interpreted in different ways. Thus, the research of mammoth bones (they were found during excavation of the primitive parking near the village of Mezin, Northern Ukraine) by a large group of experts allowed to consider them the only complex of Paleolithic percussion the archaeologists found. The bones date back about 20 thousand years old. Thanks to their restoration and writing of a special score based on the Northern ethnographic tradition, the musicians performed a rhythmic melody on the mammoth bones, which, according to experts, can be considered music as it sounded in the Paleolithic era. The sound recording, which was made in 1980 by the Russian company "Melodiya", is very similar to the well-known examples of ancient African music. It can be an evidence of a common nature and means of musical expression of the primitive ancestors of various peoples of the world. But according to another point of view on this artifact, "the first symphonic music in the history of mankind" appeared in the Ukraine. Therefore, "March on the Mammoth Bones" composed in 2003 by a member of Chernihiv Military Orchestra, with bongos and castanets imitating the sound of bones found in Mezin, is exactly "the oldest music in the world" [6]. What is it: a manifestation of methodological nationalism, cosmopolitanism, or the indicator showing the search of undervalued merits of a nation from the standpoint of ordinary consciousness?

The folklore is recognized as the primary socialization form by means of music all over the world, especially due to the collective nature of its ancient ceremonial forms aimed at achieving harmony with the powers of nature, ensuring optimum standards of life in a family, clan or tribe. The creation, rulemaking and canonization of such music is an achievement of representatives of archaic communities particularly sensitive to sound perception, who because of these and some other talents were considered magicians, healers, shamans, witches able to communicate with the "supernatural forces". …

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