Singing beyond boundaries : indigeneity, hybridity and voices of aborigines in contemporary Taiwan
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While Taiwanese Aboriginal culture has become essential for Taiwanese to construct a new national identity, this report examines the uses, makings, and transmissions of Taiwanese Aboriginal music in contemporary society, illuminating power dynamics of how Aboriginal music has been presented and perceived among different groups. The shifting Taiwanese identity within the contemporary political context opens up the discourses of indigeneity that have interpreted the Aboriginal culture as a site either for forming the new Taiwanese identity or claiming indigenous rights and subjectivity. Through the analysis of these discourses, I deconstruct how Taiwanese Aboriginal music has been exoticized and folklorized as Other by the Han-centric perspective. Further, by examining Aboriginal song-and-dance at intra-village rituals, at a Pan-Aboriginal festival, and at international cultural performances, I seek to argue that Aborigines are neither simply implementing the “otherness” imposed by the Han majority nor are they completely in conflict with it. By using Homi Bhabha’s concept of the Third space that resists the binary of the dominant ideology and counter-hegemonic discourses of a minority, I particularly consider the Aboriginal vocable singing as a site within which Aborigines strategically adopt different identities depending upon the performative context. Through this theoretical perspective, I argue that the multiplicity of identity and the interconnectedness of Aboriginal musical practices across different groups and regions challenge the rhetoric of multiculturalism and diversity of cultures in the sense of neo-liberal ideology.