Music, agency, and social transformation: Processes of subjectivation in a Palestinian community music program
In this article, a community music program in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon is explored by means of ethnographic methods of participant observation and semistructured interviews. Judith Butler’s notion of subjectivation is employed in an analysis of how the participants are constituted as national subjects in and through the musical practice. By analyzing the specific instances of agency that this constitution entails, it is argued that even as the musical practice works to consolidate established norms of national belonging and identity, it also enables participants to resignify Palestinian identity in ways that counter experiences of marginalization, exceed certain social norms, and expand the categories through which their existence becomes meaningful. Conceiving a community music practice as a subjectivating practice may prove useful for scholars seeking to analyze musical-social work in terms of its capacity for social transformation, while retaining a critical perspective on the formative and socially reproductive character of such practices.
Copyright (c) 2020 Kim Boeskov
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors contributing to Nordic Research in Music Education retain copyright to their articles but agree to publish them under a Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0 License. The terms of this license permit third parties to freely copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format, and to adapt, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially, as long as appropriate credit is given, a link to the license is provided, and any changes made are indicated. The foregoing may be done in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses the third party or their use.