Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


HYBRID IAS Book Launch 'Music and Digital Media: A Planetary Anthropology'

24 October 2022, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

Digital Music

We welcome the editor Georgina Born and several contributing authors for the launch of their new book, Music and Digital Media: A Planetary Anthropology, the first comparative ethnographic-and-theoretical study of the impact of digital media on music worldwide, published as a free download on 12th September 2022.

Event Information

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Institute of Advanced Studies


IAS Common Ground
G11, Ground Floor, South Wing, Wilkins Building

Editor Professor Georgina Born will be joined in discussion by Dr Andrew J Eisenberg (NYU Abu Dhabi), Dr Aditi Deo (Ahmedabad University) and Dr Christopher Haworth (University of Birmingham). With respondents Prof Hannah Knox (UCL Anthropology), Prof Eric Drott (Music, Univ of Texas, Austin), and Dr Tom Western (UCL Geography). 

Anthropology has neglected the study of music. Music and Digital Media shows how and why this should be redressed. It does so by enabling music to expand the horizons of digital anthropology, demonstrating how the field can build interdisciplinary links to music and sound studies, digital/media studies, and science and technology studies.

Music and Digital Media (2022, UCL Press) is the first comparative ethnographic study of the impact of digital media on music worldwide. It offers a radical and lucid new theoretical framework for understanding digital media through music, showing that music is today where the promises and problems of the digital assume clamouring audibility. The book contains ten chapters, eight of which present comprehensive original ethnographies; they are bookended by an authoritative introduction and a comparative postlude. Five chapters address popular, folk, art and crossover musics in the global South and North, including Kenya, Argentina, India, Canada and the UK. Three chapters bring the digital experimentally to the fore, presenting pioneering ethnographies of an extra-legal peer-to-peer site and the streaming platform Spotify, a series of prominent internet-mediated music genres, and the first ethnography of a global software package, the interactive music platform Max.

The book is unique in bringing ethnographic research on popular, folk, art and crossover musics from the global North and South into a comparative framework on a large scale, and creates an innovative new paradigm for comparative anthropology. It shows how music enlarges anthropology while demanding to be understood with reference to classic themes of anthropological theory.

All welcome. Attendance can be in-person at UCL or virtually. Please select the appropriate ticket when you register: https://music-digital-media.eventbrite.co.uk

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