Music and Cultural Memory: A Case Study with the Diaspora from Turkey in Berlin
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
To enable future publication of the research
This thesis explores the relationship of music and cultural memory in a migrant community, namely the Turkish diaspora in Berlin, Germany, and the changing patterns of music consumption within generations. Music is a significant agent that helps communities bridge the past and present time and place and carries the material that is used to create cultural memories for communities. This research attempts to put forward how music, as a part of our daily lives, is a part of the social arrangements that structure the operations of memory. In the context of modern diaspora, this study looks at the role of music in producing and shaping cultural memory in Berlin with the community with ties to Turkey, and how it is practiced by three different generations in the Turkish diaspora who experience music as a socially constructive element. The study also considers the extent that Turkish cultural heritage and identity is transmitted via music to the third generation, who were born and raised in Germany, examining the narrative of ‘Turkishness’ being woven into the music production of the third generation Turks. This research has been conducted using qualitative research methods with several field trips to Berlin. In-depth interviews mostly with second and third-generation German-Turks show that the Turkish diaspora has been utilising music for remembering, preventing memories from being forgotten and transmitting them to the next generations since the beginning of the guest-worker agreements in 1961. In addition to this connection with music, the timeliness of this study coincides with an era of major generational conflicts. While the second generation’s attempt to introduce their children to Turkish culture through encouraging or pushing them to learn Turkish music at private schools continues, young people have created their own diverse musicking traditions and spaces that connect them both to Turkey and Germany. New developments in technology have also provided young generations alternative paths to find music from Turkey. Building cultural memories via shared music listening experience is decreasing today within immigrant families in Berlin, while young people explore their personal links to Turkish music and create their own memories as a consequence of easier access to Turkish media.
PhD in Sociology