Flexibility and egalitarianism: musical insights from hunter-gatherers - British Library Research Repository
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Journal article

Flexibility and egalitarianism: musical insights from hunter-gatherers


Among egalitarian hunter-gatherer groups across the African continent, musical practices and egalitarianism are argued to be constitutive of one another. Southeast Asian hunter-gatherers also practice egalitarianism, however, their musical practices represent a seeming anomaly alongside those of African hunter-gatherer groups. Discussion of ‘hunter-gatherer musics’ that includes Southeast Asian perspectives has therefore been absent, even though cross-cultural, continent-spanning research with hunter-gatherers is common on topics such as politics, economics, and subsistence. Insights into egalitarianism, however, can be gained through attention to the diversity in hunter-gatherer musical practices. Discussion of Ju|'hoansi (Namibia) and Batek (Malaysia) musical practices demonstrates that egalitarianism can be understood in terms of its flexibility.


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  • Resource type

    Journal article

  • Institution
    • British Library

  • Funder
    • Leverhulme Trust

  • Funder project reference
    • RP2011-R-045

  • Journal title
    • Ethnomusicology Forum

  • Publisher
    • Routledge

  • Place of publication
    • UK

  • ISSN
    • 1741-1912

  • eISSN
    • 1741-1920

  • Official URL
  • DOI
    • doi.org/10.1080/17411912.2019.1683875

  • Keywords
  • Additional information
    • This work was supported by the Leverhulme Trust [grant number RP2011-R-045]; The Evans Fund, Cambridge University; The British Library Coleridge Research Fellowship. The attached file is the author's accepted manuscript and is embargoed in accordance with the publisher's open access policy. It will become available for download automatically on the specified date.