Library Header Image
LSE Theses Online London School of Economics web site

Performing interculture: inequality, diversity and difference in contemporary music production in Berlin

Kolbe, Kristina (2019) Performing interculture: inequality, diversity and difference in contemporary music production in Berlin. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

[img] Text - Submitted Version
Download (1MB)


This thesis explores contemporary forms of music production and performance in Berlin, Germany, and analyses to what extent these are associated with transformative forms of urban multiculture, or the reproduction of elite formations and racialised notions of difference. Based on an ethnographic study, including qualitative interviewing, participant observations and musicological reflections, I examine a self-described ‘intercultural’ music project which has been developed by an established opera institution in Berlin. The project seeks to interrogate its position as part of Germany’s highbrow music realm by promoting a ‘Turkish German’ intervention in Berlin’s cultural sector. Set against the project’s specific institutional setting and its urban context, where the legacies of German imperialism and racialised guestworker policies continue to crystallise, I probe how the project’s organisational and aesthetic practices construct particular notions of difference and shape concepts of cultural value and legitimacy – in short, I examine how interculture is performed in the context of Project X. In so doing, I consider the creative practices of music-making but also link such aesthetic discussions to an analysis of wider discourses around citizenship, identity and belonging that operate in Germany. My study traces to what extent Project X unsettles hegemonic constructions of difference but also shows when and under which conditions the project reproduces marginalising discourses around ‘race’, migration, class and gender by ultimately relegating transgressive musical representations back into the standardised logics of a Western art music institution. This study contributes to critical scholarship on cultural production and to current debates in sociology concerned with the remaking of social inequalities and cultural distinctions in the context of urban multiculture. On a more practical level, my thesis offers a critical review of intercultural efforts made in Berlin’s highbrow music sector and suggests a reflexive way forward for cultural projects that seek to engage with the multicultural city.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2019 Kristina Kolbe
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Sets: Departments > Sociology
Supervisor: Savage, Mike and Madden, David

Actions (login required)

Record administration - authorised staff only Record administration - authorised staff only


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics