Accepted paper:

Producing indigeneity - the social field of indigenous video production, cultural criticism and "tradition" of romancing based on the example of a Santali video song


Markus Schleiter (University of M√ľnster)

Paper short abstract:

Together with artists from the Santal 'indigenous' community in Odisha, India, I participated in the production of a music video album. Focusing on one video from the album, I will show how, through this song, young listeners relive the very ambivalent meaningfulness of a village dance night.

Paper long abstract:

In my contribution, I acknowledge the prominence of popularized markers of Santal 'tradition' such as costumes, tunes, and instruments like the flute in the exemplary Santali hit music video "Injurious to Health". The video's narrative form of a jokey anthem underscores its typified display of 'Santalness'. First and foremost for its primary audience of Santal youth, the video and song offer a mediatized way of reliving the culturally-specific emotions that are shared at village dances, including the forms of romancing associated with such events. While valorizing Santal culture, however, the video celebrates aspects that more conservative Santal viewers might feel less comfortable with. Moreover, artists involved in the video's production told me that they see an importance of reflecting upon and partially criticizing their own culture and even sometimes feel distanced from it. I thus present my narrative of the production process of "Injurious to Health" as evidence that while 'indigenous media' foster a sense of indigenous belonging, indigeneity is not homogenous, and indigenous media professionals critically reflect upon concepts and ideas related to the idea of 'being indigenous' even as they contribute to the re-shaping of Santal culture with their work.

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Indigenous imaginations: creative bodies and embodied resistance