We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Political Undertones of Eurovision Essay

HSTY 2605 Essay Is the European Song Contest only an annual cultural event or does it have political undertones? The European Song Contest (ESC) is far more than simply a cultural event. It is an event, which not only portrays the political views of the time, but also effects how political events will be shaped in the future. The organisers of the ESC have attempted to maintain the contest as being apolitical however politically significant events constantly occur.

Through this essay I will use a number of examples of different countries and acts throughout the history of the contest that have portrayed political sentiments of the time, and ways in which the ESC has influenced politics through its results. The ESC is a competition held annually between all active members of the European Broadcasting Union. It is the largest festival for popular music in the world, with up to six hundred million people watching internationally every year.

We will write a custom essay sample on Political Undertones of Eurovision Essay specifically for you
for only $16.38 $13.9/page

Order now

Each country participating in the contest votes for their favourite act, excluding themselves, with twelve points going to the most popular, ten to the second, and so forth. The contest has been running for over fifty-five years, this year, and over this time there have been various instances where the contest has turned from being a cultural event, into an arena to showcase a political message. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) claims that the ESC is not a political stage and that any act that is too politicised shall not be included in the competition.

This occurred in 2009 when the EBU informed Georgia that they would have to alter their entry which was entitled ‘We Don’t Want to Put In. ’ Which was an obvious stab at Russia, which had been attempting to control Georgia. Georgia altered their song but the message was still clear. The EBU does attempt to keep the ESC apolitical. Voting rights in the ESC are handled by the broadcasting organisations of each country, not by the government as a way to ‘prevent the kind of political interference by individual countries. The ESC was initially aimed to be a ‘contest of peace’ and the organisers were of the view that they ‘had to be above politics’. Yet there are extremely obvious political messages portrayed in Eurovision. In 1969 when the contest was being held in Spain, Austria refused to take part as a protest against the dictator Franco. In 1975 Greece withdrew from the contest as it was going to be Turkey’s first year in the competition and the following year Greece’s entry to the competition was a song, which protested Turkish occupation of Cyprus. Eurovision is legendary as an arena for settling diplomatic scores, venting ethnic grievance, baiting national rivals and undermining governments. ’ For all the EBU attempts to keep the ESC from becoming politicised, it has undoubtedly become a forum for political messages to be stated. It is claimed that the ESC is becoming more and more politicised with countries voting based not on the merits on the song, but on loyalty or to show support for a certain country. The analysing of voting patterns shows that certain countries tend to give their points to the same group of countries, generally because of their geopolitical relation.

However it is claimed that this is not because of politicised bias, but instead because these countries are from similar area’s and share similar cultures and therefore enjoy each other’s taste in music. However throughout the history of the contest, particularly in recent years, there has been far more evidence which proves that there is indeed an agenda other than song merits behind who is voted for in the ESC. Another reason the ESC is claimed to be becoming politicised is the high number of citizens of European countries living outside of where they were born and claim to come from.

The rules of the ESC state that one cannot vote for their own country, however this does not stop people from voting for their country if they are not living there. As a result there are high numbers of ex-patriots voting for their own country. Since the collapse of the USSR and the eastern bloc of communist countries, there have been a surge in the number of countries that participate in the ESC. These countries have signalled the arrival of a new cultural and political stage for Europe as in the past ten years, these Eastern European countries have dominated the ESC.

In the past ten years, seven of the winners have been from previously communist countries. One of these countries, and their win is particularly significant is the Ukraine. The Ukraine won the ESC in 2004. As the winners in 2004, the Ukraine would host the contest in 2005 in Kiev. However just months before the competition was due to be held the Orange Revolution started. Under the revolution a large proportion of the public rejected the chosen political candidate claiming that the election had not been fair.

There were thousands of supports of the western-leaning candidate, which culminated in hundreds of thousands camping at Independence Square in Kiev. A revote was ordered and the pro-western candidate was announced the winner. The Orange Revolution portrayed the Ukraine’s struggle to shift away from Russia and to a more western style governance. The ESC was held in Kiev just months after the revolution, which was an opportunity the Ukraine, used in order to portray their struggle. The Ukraine act for 2005 referred to the rigged election but was rejected for being ‘too political’.

Eurovision marked the end of the revolution and was a very politicised event. A key example in the political nature of the ESC is the participation, failure and success of Yugoslavia during the Cold War period. Yugoslavia began taking part in the contest from 1961. In the first twenty years of its participation, Yugoslavia had limited success. It was trying to present to Western Europe its socialist views in a form which were popular to Eastern European audiences, but were relatively unpopular with Western audiences.

Yugoslavia questioned whether it should change the form of how it presented itself to appeal to Western European audiences. Vuletic argues that this questioning reflected Yugoslavia at the time and its debate as to what form Yugoslavian culture and politics should take in this period. It is claimed that because Yugoslavia was the only Eastern European bloc country involved in the ESC its chances were hampered, as it could not rely on the support from is neighbours, which has become so significant in the ESC.

READ:  Do-it-yourself Essay

It is debated why Yugoslavia even remained in the competition through the 1960’s and 1970’s due to its heavy losses. The Yugoslav media has stated that the reason Yugoslavia remained in Eurovision was in order to promote their country and provide growth for their music industry. The ESC gave Yugoslavia the opportunity to show off their country as a tourist destination, as much of Yugoslavia’s GDP was from tourism. It is also claimed that Yugoslavia used the ESC as a stage to show Western Europe that Eastern Europe wished to share cultural ties between the two areas.

After two decades marked by failure in the ESC, Yugoslavia eventually conformed and altered its style to a more international style, which lead to its success in the 1980’s, culminating in a Yugoslav victory in 1989. Yugoslavia’s disintegration also played out in the contest, with the ESC being one of the last events that Yugoslavia was represented as a united country. At the end of the Cold War Yugoslavia was split and there was war between Montenegro and Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia. In the 2004 ESC Serbia and Montenegro received the maximum points from the three countries they had been at war with.

Serbia’s foreign minister, Goran Svilanovic, stated that the results from the Eurovision contest would ‘help improve relations in the region’. The example of Yugoslavia demonstrates that the ESC is far more than a cultural event. It portrayed the troubled Yugoslavia in the 1960’s and 70’s, its growth and then its fall. Today the ESC is even impacting politics in the region. Turkey is another example of the politicised nature of the ESC. Turkey is a country that has never been classed as part of a continent. Is it part of Europe or Asia?

Is it a western country or an Islamic one? Turkey had been a part of the ESC for twenty-five years before it succeeded in winning and many considered that Turkey was no longer being viewed as a Middle Eastern country, but rather as a European one. Turkey’s winning of the ESC has increased its efforts in becoming accepted into the European Union, a political result of an apparently only cultural competition. The Turkish Minister of State said after their win in 2003 ‘This success is a milestone in creating an atmosphere for entry in the EU like we deserve. Throughout its history Turkey has continuously faired badly in the ESC, finishing in the bottom half of the contestants almost consistently. This has been viewed as a sign that Europe did not view Turkey as a European nation. However in the lead up to Turkey’s win in 2003, there were a number of events which are claimed to of softened Europe’s view on Turkey. 2003 was the year that the United States invaded Iraq, a move that was widely unpopular amongst Europeans and saw the rise in anti-American sentiments. Just weeks after the invasion of Iraq, the United States requested use of a Turkish military base, which Turkey refused to allow.

The 2003 ESC was seen for many as ‘a celebration of continental European culture in contrast to American culture. ’ All the countries that were opposed to the war, for example, France, Germany and Belgium, gave Turkey the two highest scores possible. Perhaps tellingly, the United Kingdom, who was the largest supporter of the United States war in Iraq, came in last place with zero points. There are also further political reasons that are believed to of influenced Turkeys win in the 2003 ESC. In the mid 1970’s Turkey invaded Greek occupied Cyprus.

Just months before the ESC Turkish Cypriots eased restrictions on the border between Turkish occupied northern Cyprus and Greek occupied southern Cyprus. This was an event covered by the international media, which may of improved public opinion towards Turkey. And for the first time in the history of the history of the ESC Cyprus gave some of its points to Turkey. The Cyprian announcer said, as he made the peace sign, ‘Europe, peace to Cyprus, Turkey eight points. ’ As the year Turkey won was a very tight contest, without those eight points, Turkey would of ended up coming second to Belgium.

Another political reason that reportedly influenced Turkeys success in the ESC was the large number of Turkish citizens living overseas. Since 1997 televoting has been used as the primary form of voting. This allows for the wider public to call up and give their vote, rather than in the jury system that was used previously. There were over 2. 5 million Turkish consulates living in Germany at the time of the 2003 ESC and in the time since televoting was introduced, Germany consistently gave Turkey a high number of points. In 2003 Germany gave Turkey twelve points, the highest score.

Germany was not alone in doing this, the four other countries with the highest number of Turkish nationals also gave Turkey the maximum points. This provides evidence that people do not vote for acts based on musical talent, but rather on their political leanings and sympathies at the time. A final example of the politicised nature of the ESC is Finland’s failure to succeed. Finland first entered the ESC the same year as Yugoslavia; 1961. Finland was situated in the northern outskirts of Europe and although it was never a part of the Russian communist bloc, it did have strong relations with the USSR.

Finland sat as a kind of middle ground between the East and the West. After the end of the Cold War, Finland became more neutral and was accepted into the European Union in 1995. ‘Success in the ESC has been interpreted as a kind of proof of European approval which can only be granted by West European countries. ’ Finland failed to achieve in the ESC consistently and was viewed with a kind of shame by the Finnish. Finland placed last nine times and received the dreaded ‘zero points’ three times.

In 2002, Laura, a nationally known singer, was chosen to represent Finland in the ESC, with high hopes that Finland may finally achieve some success. Laura ended up placing third to last and there was much talk of Finland leaving the ESC all together. They did however continue to compete but there was much talk of the ESC being unfair as Finland claimed the competition was decided by the voting of ones neighbours, which was particularly evident in the Eastern European countries. Finland is a country with relatively few countries surrounding it and as a result claimed this was the reason for their consistent failures in Eurovision.

READ:  Strategic Analysis Of The Shell Company Commerce Essay

However in 2006, after years of being the underdog and being represented very melodramatically, a Finnish group, Lordi, won the ESC. The group were treated as national heroes. To Finland, the ESC was far more than simply a song contest. After decades of being the source of shame, the ESC became a source or pride for Finland. The ESC is not a contest about musical talent, it is a contest, which reflects the political views of the time, and may inadvertently influence them. This is evident through the various examples provided in this essay, such as Turkey, Yugoslavia and Finland.

Countries, as a rule, do not vote based on musical preference, rather due to geopolitical and cultural similarities. Reference List Bjornberg, Alf, Return to ethnicity: The cultural significance of musical change in the Eurovision Song Contest, in Raykoff, Ivan & Tobin, Robert Deam (ed), A Song for Europe: Popular Music and Politics in the Eurovision Song Contest. (Hampshire; Burlington; Ashgate; 2007) Bohlman, Philip, World Music: A very Short Introductiion (New York, Oxford University Press, 2002) Gol, Ayla, Turkeys Eurovision, (National Europe Centre Paper no 107. http://dspace. anu. edu. au/bitstream/1885/41667/2/Eurovision. pdf (viewed on April 29 2010) Mueller, Andrew, The Politics of Pop, The Guardian (26 March 2005) O’Connor, John Kennedy, The Eurovision Song Contest 50 years: The official history (Sydney, NSW, ABC Books, 2005). Pajala, Mari, Finland, zero points: Nationality, failure, and shame in the Finnish media, in Raykoff, Ivan & Tobin, Robert Deam (ed), A Song for Europe: Popular Music and Politics in the Eurovision Song Contest. Hampshire; Burlington; Ashgate; 2007) pp 71 Raykoff, Ivan (2002), Camping on the border of Europe, in Raykoff, Ivan & Tobin, Robert Deam (ed), A Song for Europe: Popular Music and Politics in the Eurovision Song Contest. (Hampshire; Burlington; Ashgate; 2007) Rianovosti, Eurovision organizers reject Georgia’s ‘Put In’ lyrics, http://en. rian. ru/world/20090310/120503026. html (viewed on 29 April 2010) Solomon, Thomas, Articulating the historical moment: Turkey, Europe and Eurovision 2003, in Raykoff, Ivan & Tobin, Robert Deam (ed), A Song for Europe: Popular Music and Politics in he Eurovision Song Contest. (Hampshire; Burlington; Ashgate; 2007) pp 135 Vuletic, Dean, The Socialist Star: Yugoslavia, Cold War politics and the Eurovision Song Contest, in Raykoff, Ivan & Tobin, Robert Deam (ed), A Song for Europe: Popular Music and Politics in the Eurovision Song Contest. (Hampshire; Burlington; Ashgate; 2007) pp 83 ——————————————– . O’Connor, John Kennedy, The Eurovision Song Contest 50 years: The official history (Sydney, NSW, ABC Books, 2005). Pp 4 . O’Conner, The Eurovision Song Contest 50 years pp 5 .

Raykoff, Ivan (2002), Camping on the border of Europe, in Raykoff, Ivan & Tobin, Robert Deam (ed), A Song for Europe: Popular Music and Politics in the Eurovision Song Contest. (Hampshire; Burlington; Ashgate; 2007) . Rianovosti, Eurovision organizers reject Georgia’s ‘Put In’ lyrics, http://en. rian. ru/world/20090310/120503026. html (viewed on 29 April 2010) . Rianovosti, Eurovision organizers reject Georgia’s ‘Put In’ lyrics, http://en. rian. ru/world/20090310/120503026. html (viewed on 29 April 2010) . Raykoff, (2002), Camping on the border of Europe, pp 3 .

Bohlman, Philip, World Music: A very Short Introductiion (New York, Oxford University Press, 2002) . Svante Stockselius in Raykoff (2002), Camping on the border of Europe, pp 3 . Raykoff (2002), Camping on the border of Europe, pp 3 . Raykoff (2002), Camping on the border of Europe, pp 3 . Mueller, Andrew, The Politics of Pop, The Guardian (26 March 2005) . Bjornberg, Alf, Return to ethnicity: The cultural significance of musical change in the Eurovision Song Contest, in Raykoff, Ivan & Tobin, Robert Deam (ed), A Song for Europe: Popular Music and Politics in the Eurovision Song Contest. Hampshire; Burlington; Ashgate; 2007) pp 13 . Bjornberg, Return to ethnicity, pp 20 . Bjornberg, Return to ethnicity, pp 21 . Raykoff (2002), Camping on the border of Europe, pp 11 . Raykoff (2002), Camping on the border of Europe, pp 11 . Raykoff (2002), Camping on the border of Europe, pp 4 . Raykoff (2002), Camping on the border of Europe, pp 4 . Eurovision TV, History of Eurovision, http://www. eurovision. tv/page/history (accessed on 30 April 2010) . Raykoff (2002), Camping on the border of Europe, pp 4 .

Raykoff (2002), Camping on the border of Europe, pp 4 . Raykoff (2002), Camping on the border of Europe, pp 5 . Raykoff (2002), Camping on the border of Europe, pp 4 . Raykoff (2002), Camping on the border of Europe, pp 5 . Raykoff (2002), Camping on the border of Europe, pp 5 . Raykoff (2002), Camping on the border of Europe, pp 5 . Vuletic, Dean, The Socialist Star: Yugoslavia, Cold War politics and the Eurovision Song Contest, in Raykoff, Ivan & Tobin, Robert Deam (ed), A Song for Europe: Popular Music and Politics in the Eurovision Song Contest. Hampshire; Burlington; Ashgate; 2007) pp 83 . Vuletic (2003), The Socialist Star, pp 88 . Vuletic (2003), The Socialist Star, pp 88 . Vuletic (2003), The Socialist Star, pp 88 . Vuletic (2003), The Socialist Star, pp 88 . Vuletic (2003), The Socialist Star, pp 88 . Vuletic (2003), The Socialist Star, pp 89 . Vuletic (2003), The Socialist Star, pp 95 . Vuletic (2003), The Socialist Star, pp 94 . Vuletic (2003), The Socialist Star, pp 96 . Svilanovic, cited in Vuletic (2003), The Socialist Star, pp 97 .

Solomon, Thomas, Articulating the historical moment: Turkey, Europe and Eurovision 2003, in Raykoff, Ivan & Tobin, Robert Deam (ed), A Song for Europe: Popular Music and Politics in the Eurovision Song Contest. (Hampshire; Burlington; Ashgate; 2007) pp 135 . Solomon, Thomas, Articulating the historical moment pp 143 . Solomon, Thomas, Articulating the historical moment pp 140 . Solomon, Thomas, Articulating the historical moment pp 140 . Solomon, Thomas, Articulating the historical moment pp 138 .

Solomon, Thomas, Articulating the historical moment pp 138 . Solomon, Thomas, Articulating the historical moment pp 140 . Solomon, Thomas, Articulating the historical moment pp 140 . Solomon, Thomas, Articulating the historical moment pp 138 . Solomon, Thomas, Articulating the historical moment pp 140 . Solomon, Thomas, Articulating the historical moment pp 140 . Solomon, Thomas, Articulating the historical moment pp 140 . Solomon, Thomas, Articulating the historical moment pp 142 .

Gol, Ayla, Turkeys Eurovision, (National Europe Centre Paper no 107. ) http://dspace. anu. edu. au/bitstream/1885/41667/2/Eurovision. pdf (viewed on April 29 2010) . Gold, Turkeys Eurovision, http://dspace. anu. edu. au/bitstream/1885/41667/2/Eurovision. pdf (viewed on April 29 2010) . Gold, Turkeys Eurovision, http://dspace. anu. edu. au/bitstream/1885/41667/2/Eurovision. pdf (viewed on April 29 2010) . Solomon, Thomas, Articulating the historical moment pp 141 . Solomon, Thomas, Articulating the historical moment pp 142 .

Pajala, Mari, Finland, zero points: Nationality, failure, and shame in the Finnish media, in Raykoff, Ivan & Tobin, Robert Deam (ed), A Song for Europe: Popular Music and Politics in the Eurovision Song Contest. (Hampshire; Burlington; Ashgate; 2007) pp 71 . Pajala, Finland, zero points, pp 72 . Pajala, Finland, zero points, pp 72 . Vuletic (2003), The Socialist Star, pp 86 . Pajala, Finland, zero points, pp 76 . Pajala, Finland, zero points, pp 76 . Pajala, Finland, zero points, pp 79 . Pajala, Finland, zero points, pp 80 . Pajala, Finland, zero points, pp 82

Choose Type of service

Choose writer quality

Page count

1 page 275 words

Deadline

Order Writing An Essay

iconLet us write you a custom essay sample!
icon
Sara from Artscolumbia

Hi there, would you like to get such a essay? How about receiving a customized one?
Check it out goo.gl/Crty7Tt

Political Undertones of Eurovision Essay
Artscolumbia

Artscolumbia

HSTY 2605 Essay Is the European Song Contest only an annual cultural event or does it have political undertones? The European Song Contest (ESC) is far more than simply a cultural event. It is an event, which not only portrays the political views of the time, but also effects how political events will be shaped in the future. The organisers of the ESC have attempted to maintain the contest as being apolitical however politically significant events constantly occur.

Through this essay I w

2018-10-22 07:16:09
Political Undertones of Eurovision Essay
$ 13.900 2018-12-31
artscolumbia.org
In stock
Rated /5 based on customer reviews