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This introduction sounds a call for ethnomusicologies of radio. Radio remains amongst the most widespread electronic mediums on earth. The tensions that accompanied its development continue to populate our present media landscapes, and many of these same tensions animate ethnomusicological endeavour. Here, we develop two central arguments. First, histories of radio and ethnomusicology are bound up together: that ethnomusicology is radiophonic and radio is ethnomusicological. Second, that radio is a vector of modernity that means different things in different times and places. Through these multiplicities, radio is less a thing or an apparatus than it is an ethnographic site. We begin by listening to the modernities that radio makes audible, before turning to the kinds of citizenship that are constructed through radio broadcasting. We close by sketching the disciplinary formations, theoretical concerns and ethnographic orientations that ethnomusicologies of radio might entail; and by introducing the articles that sound out these ideas and comprise this special issue.

More information Original publication




Journal article


Taylor & Francis Online

Publication Date



27 (3)


255 - 264


Radio, ethnomusicology, infrastructure, citizenship, modernity