Accepted Paper:

Beyond historical antagonisms: Lima's white upper classes challenging their own whiteness and privileges through music  

Author:

Fiorella Montero Diaz (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Paper Short Abstract:

In this paper, I will document how white upper class fusion musicians and their audience reflect and challenge their own whiteness and privilege using fusion music as an anti-hegemonic instrument to convey social critique and raise political awareness.

Paper long abstract:

Lima's white upper classes have historically distanced themselves from the city's migrant Andean/Amazonian population, whilst maintaining a relationship of hegemony. Their historical social position in the city has been among the reasons why they have often been antagonized and essentialised as culture thieves, naïve, ignorant and superficial. Moreover, with the constant focus on indigenous, mestizo and subaltern social studies, these widespread notions have been left unexamined, with academics tacitly contributing to invisibilising whiteness and wealth through lack of research.

However, this has not stopped a segment of today's young white upper classes in Lima from examining their own social role through music, particularly in the aftermath of the trauma of the twenty-year internal war (1980-2000) between the State and terrorist groups. In this paper, I will document how white upper class fusion musicians and their audience reflect and challenge their own whiteness and privilege using fusion music dialogues and lyrics as an anti-hegemonic instrument to convey social critique and raise political awareness. Music is used as a technology of conflict transformation and identity self-recreation that enables the white upper classes to negotiate and potentially transform their practices of citizenship and social action. Some Lima critics argue that fusion music simply propagates a naïve, chauvinist delusion of social progress and equality in the context of a post-war macroeconomic boom. But one could also counter, that the potential impact of a large minority in the powerful upper classes reexamining their own engagement with the rest of Lima is worth examining nonetheless.

Panel P24
Cultural and political praxes, ideas and subjectivities in the Latin American upper classes