Music, identity and musical ethnocentrism of young people in six Asian, Latin-American and Western cultures

Published: 2013. Contact: Ronald Fischer


This study explores the psychological processes of identity construction and expression through culture-specific music preferences. It investigates the link between music preferences and national identity in six student samples from Brazil, Germany, Hong Kong, Mexico, New Zealand, and the Philippines.


  • Culture-specific music styles were related to national identity.
  • The connection between self and nation is expressed through an ethnocentric bias in the choice of musical preferences. We consider musical ethnocentrism as a contextualized form of general ethnocentric tendencies.
  • We found support in six national contexts that nation-specific music can contribute to both the expression and the construction of young people’s national identity.
  • Although there are culture-specific links with specific historical, context-dependent roots, the construction and symbolizing of national identity seems occur universally.
  • The countries where popular styles were related to national identities strive for positive national identities that highlight progress and development.
  • It appears that in more traditional countries, identities are associated with both modern aspirations/ideals and appreciation for traditional roots.
  • In contrast, in the secular contexts of Germany and New Zealand, it is only the traditional/indigenous music that is associated with national identity.
  • Identity composition and expression of identity (such as musical identity expression) reinforce each other.

You can access the article “Music, Identity and Musical Ethnocentrism of Young People in Six Asian, Latin-American and Western Cultures” here.