ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Gender, Space and Identity in Goalpariya Folk Music of Assam

Interrogating the Politics of Folk

The analysis of Goalpariya folk music of Assam and its various facets helps deconstruct the conventional notion of “folk” as a neutral, static, historically continuous, and an unproblematic concept. The interconnections and linkages of folk music with the themes of identity assertion, tradition, authenticity, contexts of appropriation, and overall dynamism inherent within the concept of folk are also explored.

Given that there are different forms of identity (be it social, cultural, economic, political, regional, etc),1 my focus is solely on identities constituted in and through folk music. Such constructions, however, often lead to the constitution of an “inauthentic other” (labelling as inauthentic folk artists). By looking at the construction and assertion of identities through Goalpariya folk music and its changing nature (rather than its presumed stability), along with the function of folk music in creating dissent, I hope to engage in critically looking at the “politics of folk,” so that the concept of “folk”2 can be problematised.

In this article, I will first be looking at the connection between folk and identity politics and how this connection is further getting strengthened due to the current complexities of “new media.” Then, I will be primarily focusing on the songs to derive the subversive potential that may be inherent within this folk. Understanding this paradox of folk will assist us to foreground “folk” as not-so-much an “innocent” category, but a dynamic category of analysis in itself.

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Updated On : 9th Apr, 2020
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