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"Music, Terror and Manipulation under the Greek Junta"

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Music as a mode of torture

Uncovering the role of music as a mode of torture offers advanced discourse on the war on terror in a European context.

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Music has been known to influence our mood and mindset. Given its power, it has been used in times of war and oppression to help calm, liberate and ease suffering. Music of resistance is well-known throughout history, including recent historical periods of dictatorship such as during the Greek military junta (1967–1974). However, what is lesser known about music during such periods is the music used by the regime to manipulate through propaganda and as a medium of torture. 'Music, terror and manipulation under the Greek junta' (MUSTERMAN), an EU-funded project, has examined these aspects of the use of music during the Greek junta as well as aspects of the masculinised Greek national identity. Using a combination of historical and empirical research within a critical and theoretical framework, the project reconstructed the junta's musical culture. Not only was textual research used, but torture survivors as well as torturers were interviewed. As such, an interdisciplinary approach was used that blended critical musicology, psychoanalytical theory, trauma studies and critical theory. Many important outcomes resulted. These include a submitted book proposal, organising an international conference (Music in Detention), numerous publications and participation in conferences. Furthermore, research networks were developed in Europe and the United States. Dissemination of research results and knowledge transfer to the general public has been made possible through various media such as an online blog and radio interviews. The work contributes to important scholarly knowledge in an understudied field, as well as to a way of understanding how music can be used as a powerful force to inflict damage. With such techniques being recognised by the international community, the research is current and relevant to protecting human rights and civil liberties.


Music, war on terror, terror, propaganda, manipulation, Greek junta

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