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

Abstract

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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