• Craig Robertson University of York


A sense of belonging within social groups is determined in part by observed commonalities, but this can be self-assigned, assigned by others, unintentionally developed over generations or imposed by social hierarchies. Conflicts sometimes arise around the borders of these categories. Peacebuilding efforts sometimes find success through softening these borders to the point where conflicting social groups recognise their commonalities while respecting their differences. These social constructs are complicated by the understanding that everyone possesses simultaneous identities that can be foregrounded or backgrounded depending on life experiences, social and cultural influences and time. Due to these influences, new identities emerge throughout time and old ones may fade. In short, the concept of identity is a social construct that helps individuals and groups make sense of their world and where they feel they belong. Likewise, music is a social and cultural activity; many scholars, especially in the social sciences, claim that a sense of identity from the producer and the receiver of the music is required in order to interpret the phenomena. The experience of the phenomena, especially repeated experiences, can form, shape or alter these senses of identities. As such, it follows that music and peacebuilding can connect in and through the concept of identity.

Author Biography

Craig Robertson, University of York

Craig Robertson is the Research and Development Manager (Arts and Humanities) at the University of York, a research fellow at the Min-On Music Research Institute (Tokyo) and a director of the Music for Healthy Lives Research and Practice Network (Leeds). He has research interests in music and conflict/peace, wellbeing, music therapy and music as a human right.