Reviewed by: Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students
Primary Theme: Resilience
Secondary Theme: Resistance
This roundtable explores how social change shapes and is shaped by different forms of popular music in Latin America and the Caribbean. Change is a word with a lot of ideological baggage in Latin America and the Caribbean. This is because in Latin America and the Caribbean, social change has been entangled with fraught experiences of modernity such as colonization, massacre, displacement, political instability, expropriation, economic and social inequalities, racial, ethnic and gender discrimination, etc. While Latin America and the Caribbean are geo-politically considered to be peripheral vis-à-vis global canons such as Western world or North America and Europe, certain populations have felt even more marginalized, vis-à-vis dominant institutions, powerful canons or hegemonic publics within Latin America and the Caribbean. One way in which various minority and peripheral populations or communities have dealt with these many distressing social changes has been music. Thus, music in Latin America has been inseparable from resistance, resilience, and adaptation.
This roundtable focuses especially on popular music genres that have been intertwined with social changes in interesting ways, such as hip hop, punk, rap, country and folk, etc. These musical genres gain interesting complexities in Latin America. On the one hand, they have been known for their expression of sociopolitical resistance and subversion. Yet, ironically, in Latin America and the Caribbean, these genres are often associated with the Western world, which resonates with imperial power and dominance. For many people in Latin America and the Caribbean, music consists of processes and products through and with which to express and channel resistance, resilience and adaptation to a range of social changes. Yet, in changing societies, musical expressions, processes and products themselves go through changes as well. Thus, the transformation of music itself constantly face resistance, resilience and adaptation. The musical and other expressive practices we examine in this roundtable lie at the intersection of tensions between processes of resistance, resilience and adaptation through music and in music itself.
In this session, we discuss how diverse populations in Latin America and the Caribbean tackle these dilemmas and challenges in creative ways. How do forms, scales and tempos of social changes impact the ways in which people express themselves through music? How do different musical forms, scales and tempos affect ways in which people face social change? How do changes in and through music create empathies, connections, conflicts, or discrepancies through time and across space? How do the processes of resistance, resilience and adaptation interplay in artists’ localized practices of these global genres? How does localizing musical genres become everyday practices of resistance, resilience and adaptations? To answer these questions, we examine and discuss the cases of “Mapunkys” (Mapuche punk), Mapuche folk and hip hop, Mayan hip hop, hip hop in Brazil, Punk in Peru, and other popular music in Peru, and Curaçao.