Soundscapes and borderscapes: Music as a counter-mapping discourse in the Kurdish nationalist movement

Hongur G.

STUDIES IN ETHNICITY AND NATIONALISM, vol.22, no.1, pp.28-42, 2022 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 22 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/sena.12360
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Index Islamicus
  • Page Numbers: pp.28-42
  • Keywords: music, Kurds, ethnicity, nationalism, transnationalism, borderscapes, GEOPOLITICS, AESTHETICS, SOLIDARITY, IDENTITY, LAND
  • Van Yüzüncü Yıl University Affiliated: Yes


This article traces the ways in which Kurdish claims to national rights and borders have been structured around transnational and virtual spaces to coalesce into music. It focuses on issues such as migration, diaspora, border, ethnicity, transnationalism, and nation-building through Kurdish music and Kurdish musicians. The concept of the borderscape provides a theoretical lens through which to understand how music has been politicized and positioned between the non-existence of a Kurdish nation-state and the enduring existence of Kurdish as an ethnicity, a language, and a homeland in the Middle East. By giving examples from songs, lyrics, and the virtual world of Kurdish music, the study elaborates on how Kurds reinforce the territorial imagination of 'Kurdistan' as the rightful home-land of a Kurdish nation. Focusing on music as a resource for political action, nationalism, and for the identification of national borders, this study thus adds to the border studies and ethnomusicological literatures by linking music to ethnicity, nationalism, and transnationalism.