The European Union, Brexit, and Ethnomusicology

European Perspectives

  • Britta Sweers University of Bern, Switzerland.
Keywords: European Union, Brexit, Advanced Chemistry, Killing Joke, Laibach, ethnomusicology


Discussing central stations of the history of the European Union through song, this article aims at exemplifying how this history, as well as contemporary hidden emotions and fears can be uncovered by a deeper analysis of this material. First discussing case studies by, among others, Advanced Chemistry, Killing Joke, Laibach, the article discusses the broader Europe/ EU-related social, ideological, and political discourses behind the songs’ surface contents and structures. Subsequently likewise contextualizing Brexit-related musical discourses regarding issues of nationalism and Europeanness, the article finally provides reflection on the situation and role of ethnomusicology within this European context. As is argued here, ethnomusicological findings provide important insights into many Europe-related national/global debates. Despite or rather because of its small size, ethnomusicology appears as a globally highly interconnected discipline that urgently needs to bring out its findings more strongly into the public, which has especially become apparent within the context of Brexit.

How to Cite
SweersB. (2021). The European Union, Brexit, and Ethnomusicology. The International Journal of Traditional Arts, 3. Retrieved from