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"He drinks champagne during Ramadan": Ethnic performativity among singers with a migratory background in the Eurovision Song Contest


  • Tannaz Judith Gakwisi

Summary, in English

Since 1956, the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) has become one of the most popular entertainment events in the world. Each year, countries across Europe compete in a competition with original songs. While the majority of the entries includes a notion of European or national identity, there have been various performers from minority communities throughout the years. This thesis aimed to study the performance of ethnic identity among contestants in the Eurovision Song Contest with a first or second generation migratory background. By using Jean Phinney’s Ethnic Identity Development model, Judith Butler’s concept of performativity was applied to the ESC. The study was conducted as a multiple case-study, and included three singers that have taken part in the contest: Mahmood from Italy (2019), Jeangu Macrooy from the Netherlands (2021), and Manizha from Russia (2021). In each case, the song’s lyrics, music video and live performance were analysed, based on the performance of ethnic elements. In addition, media footage was analysed to study the public debate surrounding the participation of these singers, as well as to understand the idea behind the creative process surrounding the song and performance. Overall, the study showed that the artists performed ethnic identity in various ways, but in particular through the use of language, clothing and visuals. However, the motivation behind the performative choices differed per artist, and the importance of ethnic identity varied per case. Furthermore, for all participants, their ethnic identity was emphasized in the media, to which the singers responded in different manners, by either emphasizing their ethnic identity, or expressing their sense of national identity.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (two years)


  • Social Sciences


  • Ethnic identity
  • ethnic performativity
  • minority identity
  • ethnic identity development
  • Eurovision Song Contest
  • European Studies


  • Alena Minchenia