The analysis of Okinawan popular music and identity in relation to other studies of southeast Asian popular music

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Harvey, Sandi K.
Billings, Dorothy K., 1933-

This research attempts to use the creation of popular music in Okinawa as a symbolic resource to reveal attributes related to the making of identity. Popular music in non-Western societies is a useful unit of analysis that can explain how people respond to cultural change and can tell us much about cultural values. The origin of identity studies is both historical and political by nature. However, socio-cultural functions can further expand our understanding of both cultural and political resistance. Popular music as identity is not static and is always in flux. Identity addresses the ongoing relationship between the global (capitalized market) and the local (maintenance of cultural heritage). Negotiation between the two is explained through the use of imagined communities and the concept of place and space. Only through a historical, social, political and economic context is identity making fully realized. The functions of popular music are expressive behaviors which shape and are shaped by social, historical, political and economic experiences. In using the comparative method, the lyrical content and other important features of Okinawan popular music will be contrasted with other Southeast Asian studies. This research will highlight similarities, but will also reveal distinct differences between the formation of identity in both Okinawan and other Southeast Asian communities.

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Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Anthropology.