Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The discourse on race within the bluegrass music community
by Miyake, Mark Y., Ph.D., Indiana University, 2009, 261; 3390321
Abstract (Summary)

The American popular media often portray bluegrass music as the music of choice for the most racist elements of society, and many Americans assume that bluegrass music discourse is characterized by white supremacy and nationalistic jingoism. The dominance of this simplistic view has influenced the views of scholars, leading to a lack of serious scholarship on this important genre of popular music. This dissertation focuses on the complex dimensions of discourse on race within, and of the construction of, the bluegrass music community. It examines the ways in which the discourse shapes and is shaped by the self and projected identities, internal and external power structures of music production and community practices, and of the broader discourse on American music in which it operates. While the representation of bluegrass music as a White genre is rooted in over a century of patterns in the representations of bluegrass and related forms by the music industry, cultural historians, musicians, and others, it is the communal discourse itself that maintains this widespread and deeply held belief. Based on historical and ethnographic research, this dissertation examines this discourse and the conditions surrounding it since the founding of bluegrass music as a distinct genre in the 1940s and 1950s. It analyzes the ways in which this history influences the current community and the ways in which historical discourse within this community often serves to generate and maintain community boundaries and practices.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Tuohy, Sue, Bauman, Richard
Commitee: Bauman, Richard, Gray, Mary L., Stone, Ruth M., Tuohy, Sue
School: Indiana University
Department: Folklore and Ethnomusicology
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 71/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Folklore, Music
Keywords: Appalachia, Bluegrass, Ethnomusicology, Music, Race, Whiteness
Publication Number: 3390321
ISBN: 978-1-109-58721-0
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