Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Politics of Musical Hybridity in Buenos Aires: Jewish Music, Youth Culture, and Cultural Policy
by Kawabata, Mitsuko, Ph.D., Indiana University, 2019, 315; 22584335
Abstract (Summary)

This study explores the multi-layered meanings of Jewish youth musical culture in Buenos Aires, based on ethnographic research in 2012 and 2013. During my fieldwork, Buenos Aires offered multiple cultural festivals celebrating ethnic diversity in the city including Buenos Aires Celebra and Paseo Porteño. Local Jewish organizations, sometimes funded by international Jewish organizations, took these opportunities to demonstrate their traditions, including food and music, and hired young Jewish musicians to perform their own interpretations of klezmer and other “Jewish” music. The study considers how the Buenos Aires government, young musicians, and Jewish organizations collaboratively constructed Jewish identity while negotiating each actor’s agenda, using as metaphor the concept of a door, and the spaces inside and outside of it. For the city, outside refers to the carefully produced performances of young Jewish musicians, which served as an effective tool to promote a celebratory image of ethnic diversity. Inside denotes the privileged space behind the scenes, in which ethnic minorities were used to maintain a sense of cultural and political stability. For Jewish organizations, the outside displays the vibrant culture and “cool” image of Jewish identity represented by young Jewish musicians, while the inside remained conservative, dedicated to the idea of the maintenance of the Jewish community. For young musicians, finally, the outside is the site of their contribution to both the city’s and Jewish organizations’ attempts to celebrate the diversity of the city and the construction of a “new” Jewish identity, as well as their engagement with “cool” club culture. However, the inside reveals their efforts to forge musical careers for themselves. I name these processes collaborative investment, a concept which encompasses each actor’s approaches to politics, music, and religion, as well as their struggles with negotiating identities within various spheres of social experience.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Cohen, Judah M., McDonald, David A.
Commitee: León, Javier, McDowell, John H., Magid, Shaul
School: Indiana University
Department: Folklore and Ethnomusicology
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 81/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Folklore, Judaic studies, Latin American Studies
Keywords: Jewish musical culture, Buenos Aires, Ethnic diversity
Publication Number: 22584335
ISBN: 9781085723398
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