Music, Dance, Anthropology

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Edited by Stephen Cottrell

This volume celebrates the significant resurgence of interest in the anthropology of music and dance in recent decades. Traversing a range of fascinating topics, from the reassessment of historical figures such as Katherine Dunham and John Blacking, to the contemporary salience of sonic conflict between Islamic Uyghur and the Han Chinese, the essays within Music, Dance, Anthropology make a strong argument for the continued importance of the work of ethnomusicologists and ethnochoreologists, and of their ongoing recourse to anthropological theories and practices. Case studies are offered from areas as diverse as Central Africa, Ireland, Greece, Uganda and Central Asia, and illuminate core anthropological concepts such as the nature of embodied knowledge, the role of citizenship, ritual practices, and the construction of individual and group identities via a range of ethnographic methodologies. These include the consideration of soundscapes, the use of ethnographic filmmaking, and a reflection on the importance of close cultural engagement over many years.

Taken together these contributions show the study of music and dance practices to be essential to any rounded study of social activity, in whatever context it is found. For as this volume consistently demonstrates, the performance of music and dance is always about more than just the performance of music and dance.

Stephen Cottrell is Professor of Music at City, University of London.
Contributors: John Baily; Peter Cooke; Ann R. David; Catherine E. Foley; Andree Grau; Rachel Harris; Maria Koutsouba; Jerome Lewis; Barley Norton; Carole Pegg; Martin Stokes.

Introduction; Part I – Histories, Theories, Concepts: Chapter 1 – The Royal Anthropological Institute and the development of ethnomusicology in the UK; Chapter 2 – ‘The legs that put a kick into anthropology’: forerunners of the anthropology of dance; Chapter 3 – How musical is the citizen?; Chapter 4 – Why music matters: social aesthetics and cultural transmission; Chapter 5 – The ‘voice of the body’: revisiting the concept of embodied ethnography in the anthropology of dance; Chapter 6 – Ethnomusicology and filmmaking; Part II – Regional Insights: Chapter 7 – The soundscapes turn in ethnomusicology: sonic territoriality and the Islamic revival across Chinese-Central Asian borders; Chapter 8 – Performative bodies: overtoning self and personhood among nomadic musicians and shamans of the Altai-Sayan Mountains of southern Siberia; Chapter 9 – ‘To win or lose a place in the sun’: sounding movements, changing contexts and the sean nós dancer; Chapter 10 – Local dance traditions and glocalized crisis: a landscape of traditional dance in Greece under austerity; Chapter 11 – Music, power and patronage: the case of the king’s musicians of Buganda; Contributors; Index.

Published in association with the Royal Anthropological Institute

Hardback, ISBN 978-1-912385-31-7, £60.00 (GBP), $90.00 (USD)

This volume is available from the RAI in a limited paperback edition for Fellows at £20.00 (including P&P). Institutional inquiries for the hardback should be addressed please to the publisher ( Orders from Fellows may come directly to the RAI, to