Sociopolitical control and the structure of national symbols: An empirical analysis of national anthems

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Broadly speaking, this research addresses the relationship between national symbols and the societies from which they emerge. Specifically, it examines the ways in which varying levels of sociopolitical control influence the structure or design of national anthems. The study utilizes a set of newly devised measures that allow for the quantification of musical structure; these measures approach music as a symbolic code. Such codes range from basic to embellished in design. Findings reveal that during periods of high sociopolitical control, elites create and adopt anthems with basic musical codes. As sociopolitical control becomes comparatively weak, elites create and adopt anthems with embellished codes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-99
Number of pages24
JournalSocial Forces
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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