Culture and Consumption: Classical Music in Contemporary India and the Diaspora

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Lakshmi Subramaniam


The categories of community, nation, tradition and modernity were for nationalist musicologists critical issues that cropped up in the course of their reflections on cultural inheritance as a key basis for nation building. The reconstruction of music, especially classical music, I have argued was an integral part of a self-conscious cultural project that helped frame the contours of a national heritage with all its material and symbolic
artifacts. The present paper is an attempt to push the story in time and space – and is more in the nature of an agenda for future research and hopes thereby to link up the consumption and representation of the performing arts with the cultural landscape of globalization and the diaspora. I will, in fact, try and see how the assumptions and dynamics of the brave new world of global culture and cosmopolitanism, of diasporic
imaginings and subjectivities interfaced with Nationalism to produce a complex paradigm for the representation and consumption of culture, and wherein the tropes of ‘tradition’ and ‘modernity’ assumed a new inflection.

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