AFRINUM – Digital Cultures in West Africa: Music, Youth and Mediations
is a Collaborative Research Project funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR). This 48-month project (Nov. 2019-Nov. 2023) brings together an international team of 14 researchers, 2 post-docs and 10 students (Master and PhD) divided among 3 partners: EHESS Paris (France); IRD Bamako (Mali); University of Lethbridge (Canada).

AFRINUM aims at renewing the discourse about innovation in Western African societies through the lens of the popular music industry. We consider digital technology as a globalized tool vs a cultural artifact to reflect upon the many specificities that this tool takes and the values to which it refers. This digital music culture will be investigated within a large range of social, economic and political contexts to which this culture participates meanwhile contributes to transforming, producing or reifying.

This scientific research triangulates three axes. The first axis investigates music and audio production practices in the recording studio throughout the role of the arranger/sound engineer. We will then focus on the entrepreneurial and collaborative economic models that young musicians develop to keep the control of their production, distribution, and broadcast, thus freeing themselves from the hierarchy of the Elders. Eventually, the third axis will examine how music enables new social relationships amongst individuals, groups, and identities, in a digital era that coincides with cultural marketing, that reduces the impact of the politics, and that benefits to a liberal economic paradigm with the actor-producer on the one hand and the individual-consumer on the other hand.


  • Editor-in-Chief: Emmanuelle Olivier
  • Editorial team: Alfonso Castellanos, Stéphane Costantini
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