My project builds on ethnographic studies by my ERC research team (2010-15), which addressed comparatively how digitisation and digital media are transforming musical practices in the developing and developed world. It involves analysing the ethnographic material to address debates at the intersection of music, anthropology, digital culture and legal studies. Initial debates concerned the crisis caused to copyright industries by digital technologies; they assumed that the norms enshrined in Western intellectual property law are universal and beneficial and should be extended to the global South. However, counter-arguments have developed in anthropology and legal studies contesting the universality of IP law and arguing that its impact on developing countries can be deleterious. This critical paradigm draws on scholarship from the global South and calls for attention to the diverse values, economic systems and concepts of authorship manifest in cultural production in the developing world. Music is a good cultural form through which to pursue these challenges, and my aim is to bring the ethnographic material systematically to bear on them, with the potential for both intellectual and policy impact.
Georgina Born is Professor of Music and Anthropology at Oxford University and Professorial Fellow of Mansfield College. Previously active as a musician, her work combines ethnographic and theoretical writings on music, digital/media and cultural production. She has held visiting and honorary professorships at UC Berkeley, McGill, Oslo University and UCL. She is a Fellow of the British Academy (in Anthropology and Music) and chairs its Culture, Media and Performance section.
Music, Digitisation, and Cultural and Intellectual Property
Area of research:
Musicology, anthropology, digital culture studies, critical cultural legal studies, sound studies.
01 Oct 2018 – 30 Sep 2019
Photo: Bikaner recording studio.