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Practice, ritual and community music: doing as identity

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As a specialist in ritual theory and performance, with some professional experience of communtiy music, I have always been struck by the robust resistance to clear-cut definitions or identities, by both ritual and community music. This article takes as its point of departure the proposal of ritual scholar Catherine Bell, that we abandon the quest for conceptual identity and more fruitfully turn our attention to the potential of practice to generate its own identity. Drawing on a post-modern interpretation of practice theory, she explores four ways in which practices generate meaning: through strategic behaviour, situationality, the necessary misrecognition of its own enterprise, and its potential for redemptive hegemony in its discourse with power. The paper concludes with an example from my own work with the refugee and asylum seeking community in Limerick, and an interrogation of Bell's proposal, with reference to this experience of music-making.
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Keywords: asylum seekers; community music; practice theory; redemptive hegemony; ritual

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Limerick.

Publication date: 01 May 2008

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  • The International Journal of Community Music publishes research articles, practical discussions, timely reviews, readers' notes and special issues concerning all aspects of Community Music. The editorial board is composed of leading international scholars and practitioners spanning diverse disciplines that reflect the scope of Community Music practice and theory.
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