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Performativity of Difference: Mapping Public Soundscapes and Performing Nostalgia among Burmese Chinese in Central Rangoon

From: Asian Music
Volume 42, Number 2, Summer/Fall 2011
pp. 19-55 | 10.1353/amu.2011.0017



This article examines the festive musical practices of Chinese immigrants from 1949 to 1988 in central Rangoon. Eschewing conventional interpretations of diasporic music that view a diasporic community as a fixed unit, the author adopts the mode of ethnographic historiography and focuses on multiple micromusics that emerged in the Burmese Chinese community. This speaks to the music’s performativity of difference whereby music is used as a strategic resource to help articulate differences and lay claim to subjectivity.