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Title: Voices of the mountains : language and identity in Andean songs
Author: Pigott, Charles Maurice
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis is a conceptual exegesis of 'identity' through the lens of Andean song-texts. I collected the songs during a year's fieldwork in Ancash department, Peru. The texts are in the two local languages, Ancash Quechua and Spanish. By exploring various discourses of Self and Other in the texts, I engage with two differing accounts of 'identity' in academia: 1) 'identity' as fluid, fragmentary and unstable; 2) 'identity' as an abiding, transcendental essence. My aim is not to advocate one over the other, but to question why these two interpretations have evolved, and how they can be reconciled in a global interpretation. The structure of the thesis reflects these two main orientations of 'identity': Chapters Two (Part One) and Three explore more 'processual' accounts, while Chapters Two (Part Two) and Four discuss more 'essentialist' discourses. Chapter Two as a whole explores interview-excerpts concerning the social role of waynus, an Andean song-genre. Chapter Three examines the building of community through reciprocity, as portrayed in four song-genres. Chapter Four discusses two genres which reinvent the Incan past and posit a clear divide between 'in-group' and 'out-group'. My main finding in all of the texts is the predication of identification on survival, whereby we define the social world in such a way that our sense of security is maximized. This, in turn, results from the mutual constitution of Self and Environment. In the Conclusion, I draw on Heidegger (1927), Merleau-Ponty (1964) and Derrida (1967) to engage in depth with the issues of Self and Other, 'identity' and 'alterity' that reveal themselves in the texts. My final exegesis of the texts, informed by such congruent philosophical theorizations, offers a way out of the apparent contradictions in the diverse usages of 'identity', but only if we reconceptualize the notions of 'entity' and 'process'.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral