World Music: Deterioration, Commodification and Cultural Identities

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In the article “Workd Music: Deterritorializing Place and Identity,” Conell and Gibson illustrate deterritorization, commodification and cultural identities through world music. They argue that the consequence of globalization is not just producing a homogeneous world, but rather to produce a hybrid world. Instead of simply replacing local products, products are always refashioned and given new meaning. Instead of “eliminating specificity and creating homogeneity,” capitalism always absorbs different cultural features, and it results in “multiple capitalisms and multiple modernities” (Conell & Gibson, 2004, p.357). In a world of decentralization, fragmentation and compression, Said (1995) states, “all cultures are involved in one another; none is single and pure, all are hybrid, heterogeneous, extraordinarily differentiated and unmonolithic” (p. 15). Music has been modified and transformed through the flow of global culture and raise hybridity in musical styles. According to Connell and Gibson, “expansion of world music exemplifies the deterritorization of cultures and emphasizes how the rise of a particular cultural commodity (world music) is primarily a commercial phenomenon” (p. 342). World music, as a major entertainment of cultural product, provides “valuable insights into how constructions of place, identity and deterritorialization are uneven and selective” (p. 343). The authors also describe world music as a commodity which has been recasted to meet western tastes and business interests. Similar to the consumption of ethnic food which represents multiculturalism, world music is shaped to become consumer-friendly multiculturalism. According to Guibault (2001), “world music elegantly demonstrates how deterritorialization has resulted in, and necessitated, an exaggerated sense of locality and cultural distinctiveness” (p. 18).

Connell, J & Gibson, C. (2004). Workd Music: Deterritorializing Place and Identity. Progress in Human...
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