Dangerous Crossroads: Popular Music, Postmodernism, and the Poetics of Place

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Verso, 1994 - Music - 192 pages
In cities around the globe, immigrant populations are finding their identity by making music which combines their own experiences with the forms of the mainstream culture they have come to inhabit. Dangerous Crossroads surveys an extraordinary range of these musical fusions: Puerto Rican Bugalu in New York; Algerian rai in Paris; Chicano punk in Los Angeles; Indigenous rock in Australia; chanson Quebecois in Montreal; swamp pop in Houston and New Orleans; reggae, bhangra, and juju in London; and zouk, rap, and jazz in Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Throughout, Lipsitz highlights the issues that unite inter-ethnic music fusions across geographic boundaries. He demonstrates that what might be interpreted as a postmodern process of meaningless juxtapositions of musical forms ripped from their original contexts may actually be a redeployment of traditional music to serve untraditional purposes. Lipsitz explores the ways in which ethnic difference in popular music enables musicians from aggrieved populations to enjoy the rewards of mainstream culture while boldly stating their divergence from it, and how it offers a utopian model of inter-cultural cooperation, at the same time making a spectacle out of ethnicity and reinforcing ethnic divisions. Some inter-ethnic music has become part of significant movements for social change; in other instances it has played a reactionary role. But in all the case studies in this book, inter-cultural fusion music displays the contours of ethnic anxiety in an age characterized by the rapid movement of people, capital, and images across national borders.

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About the author (1994)

George Lipsitz is Professor of Black Studies at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of Midnight: Life and Labor in the 1940s, Time Passages: Collective Memory and American Popular Culture, The Sidewalks of St Louis and A Life in Struggle: Ivor Perry and the Culture of Opposition, which was the winner of the Eugene M. Kayden Press Book Award and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Race Relations.

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