The MMRC conducts research on the role music plays in the context of relationships between hegemonic and marginalized social groups within societies. This involves ethnomusicological research as well as socio-political engagement.

One of our key terms is minority. Being aware of the fluidity of the concept of minorities, we propose the following definition as a working tool expecting that future research will bring new insights:

The term minority refers to communities, groups and/or individuals that are at higher risk of discrimination on grounds of ethnicity, race, religion, language, gender, sexual orientation, disability, political opinion, displacement and social or economic deprivation. These identity markers may and often do intersect. Due to the diversity of discrimination mechanisms and the historical development of certain groups different socio-political agendas may emerge. Minorities can only be defined in relation to a dominant group, since these two poles co-define each other in hegemonic discourse. This relation is a power relation, not a numerical one.

(Based on the current definition of the ICTM Study Group on Music and Minorities,, August 6, 2019)

Research question

What are the (constantly changing) meanings and values of music of and for marginalized groups and individuals?

This includes local, national and global levels, the consideration of socio-political conditions, a historical perspective, and the dominant group’s impact.

Engaged ethnomusicology is envisioned to be a guiding principle of research at the MMRC. The research will contribute to the discourse on theory and methods of ethnomusicological research.

There are several research areas currently emerging, due to the interest of researchers affiliated to the MMRC, due to political realities and due to the expertise that has been developed at the mdw over the years.