Author:Naila Ceribasic (Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research)
Paper short abstract:
Taking the engagement of ethnomusicologists in the program of safeguarding ICH as a highly significant example, the author examines the prospects of ethnomusicology in the early 21st century, suggesting a collaborative-academic ethnomusicology as a workable solution.
Paper long abstract:
The authority of communities in identifying and defining their ICH, which is embedded in the 2003 Convention, is simultaneously one of fundamental methodological, epistemological, and ethical principles in the work of ethnomusicologists worldwide. One can argue that the Convention actually reflects a pronounced collaborative approach to fieldwork and subsequent ethnographic representation, which has been developing in ethnographic disciplines since the 1980s. Looking from the perspective of doing ethnomusicology at home, in Croatia, this paper seeks to elucidate similarities and differences between collaborative methodologies as charted in the ICH program and in ethnomusicology as an academic discipline. Is there a danger that the former will engulf the latter, particularly in the context of ethnomusicologists being themselves increasingly engaged in applying their knowledge in "solving concrete problems", and "influencing social interaction and course of cultural change" (cf. Mission Statement of the ICTM Study Group on Applied Ethnomusicology)? Why ethnomusicologists, while employing distinctly collaborative ways of knowledge production, more often than not (have to) defend themselves from the "ivory tower" suspicion? Because they still do not fit in with neoliberal agenda? Because the audience interested in their standard outcomes is indeed very limited? If so, should they pay even greater attention to non-textual representations? How then they would fit into academic standards of excellence? The author argues that the ICH program has demonstrated (but didn't yet acknowledge) a great need for cultural translation, where the role of academically trained ethnographers is irreplaceable. Is it a signal that collaborative-academic ethnomusicology has a chance?
The program of intangible cultural heritage, a market niche for ethnographers or a symptom of their infirmity in the early 21st century?