Music as an Instrument of Making a Sociocultural Otherness


  • Bojan Žikić Department of Ethnology and Anthropology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, Serbia
  • Miloš Milenković Department of Ethnology and Anthropology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, Serbia



anthropology, music, otherness, cultural communication, Western civilization


The notion of "music" should be viewed as a synesthetic concept: impressions about it are not transmitted exclusively through the sense of hearing, but also to the visual perception. The effect of music can be seen as intellectual and emotional, as a relation towards the played or pronounced at the lyrics, but also towards the very appearance or performance of the musicians, to the musical piece performing and so on. In other words, we do not only communicate by playing and listening to music, but also understanding it – in terms of cultural and social phenomenon. Those who use the concept of music understood in such a way even do not have to be musicians, because socially and culturally understandable and relevant messages can be transmitted through the simple broadcasting of a certain music audio or video recordings, or by taking a stand towards some musical piece. Music represents a medium to expression of a sociocultural otherness in Western civilization, at least from the Middle Ages, but also represents a way of producing that otherness. By producing of otherness, we mean "discovered", namely, conscious and intended individual acts to the use of music as a synesthetic concept for the purpose of transmitting a cultural message about a certain kind of otherness in a given sociocultural context, and which, for immediate reference, takes the sender of such a message. Our aim is to present a mechanism of that producing of otherness in such a way, by considering examples to different types of musical pieces (Rock and Roll, film music, classical music, etc.), different types of otherness (ontological, political, ethnical, etc.) and different sociocultural contexts from closer and further past, as well as from the present.


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How to Cite

Žikić, Bojan, and Miloš Milenković. 2018. “Music As an Instrument of Making a Sociocultural Otherness”. Etnoantropološki Problemi / Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 13 (2):295-325.

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