GIEEMP Seminar | Expressive culture on the Portuguese-Spanish border: sociocultural transformation processes, musical agents, and practices of identity construction
In this seminar I will present the work carried out within the scope of my post-doctoral project, which aimed to understand musical practices in the progressive tension between the politics of possibility of local agents, those charged with valuing and safeguarding the cultural assets of their communities, and the neoliberal political project of commodifying culture. In accordance with Jacques Attali, music is "essentially political [because] all music, any sonic organization is [...] a tool for the creation or consolidation of a community" (BENNETT, 2009, p. 53). Therefore, music is an instrument for the construction of identities and a vehicle for the transmission of meaning and actions that "derive their meaning through the affirmation of identity that they provide, as they are connected to stories that situate people in time and space" (SHAPIRO, 1999, p. 59). In this perspective, I departed from the concerns of the present to interrogate relations between history, memory, and musical practices that over time have shaped the cultural identity of the region. I later focused on the transformations of rural society from the April Revolution to the present, interweaving the policies of safeguarding cultural heritage in the production and transmission of cultural imaginaries, with a set of musical and performative practices that reinforce the sense of the common and stimulate social creativity. In this sense, I structured the project around two central axes: the first focused on festive, cyclical, and everyday contexts and the second on heritage policies, analysing the role of the agents involved in the construction of local and regional identities. Throughout the research I developed a set of initiatives that involved various entities, cultural associations, and collectives in addition to the partial dissemination of the results in publications, talks, and computer platforms: http://culturaexpressiva.wordpress.com/, that allowed musical groups and communities to share and reflect on their experiences and realities.