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Auto-ethnography and Composition as Epistemologies for Reconciling Double-Consciousness: an Interrogation of Hybridity and Diaspora

Lolavar, S (2021). Auto-ethnography and Composition as Epistemologies for Reconciling Double-Consciousness: an Interrogation of Hybridity and Diaspora. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)

Abstract

This research project presents both a portfolio of compositions and a written thesis exploring the British-Iranian author’s experiences of double-consciousness, an internalised form of subject-object dualism in which the individual looks upon themself through the eyes of a dominant, hostile culture. This project considers two key frameworks which offer ways out of such a binary, namely hybridity and diaspora.

These frames are explored through a tripartite methodology which continually moves back and forth between analytical knowledge (theory), practice (music composition) and experiential knowledge (auto-ethnography). In practice, this means that the personal and lifelong impact of the concepts of hybridity and diaspora is manifested in the relationships set in motion in various music compositions. Subsequent analysis of these works brings to the surface aspects of personal experience that might not otherwise have been accessible. These processes both guide and are guided by auto-ethnographic forms of writing which connect personal experience to broader political, social and critical concerns. Both methods continually reflect back onto theory, adding nuance to our conceptualisation of hybridity and diaspora as concepts widely used across the humanities and social sciences.

Through these means, it is argued that neither hybridity nor diaspora are necessarily emancipatory frameworks when it comes to reconciling double-consciousness. Specifically, when a pole of hybridity is constituted as a delineated and defined object from which the perceiver is alienated, double-consciousness is not reconciled by this framework of mixing, but potentially even triggered. Similarly, while some commentators suggest that diaspora
6 offers an emancipatory model of identity as multi-locational, syncretic and emergent, it is argued that this is not enough to facilitate the reconciliation of double-consciousness. In fact, when diaspora deals in framings of place and travel that align with the concept of “transport” – which is to say, it constructs place as a series of defined and delineated locations between which the body of the passenger is passively transported – then the binaries of double-consciousness may be reasserted.

However, as will be argued, when the poles of hybridity are constructed as material with which a maker corresponds, the splittings of double-consciousness may be reconciled. Similarly, when diaspora deals in framings of place and travel that align with the concept of “wayfaring” (producing a trail through the world which is winding, reactive and experientially unfolding) the dislocations of double-consciousness can be challenged. These findings are unveiled through musical processes of composition, performance and analysis, intertwining theorisations of diaspora, hybridity and double-consciousness with sound.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Arts & Social Sciences
School of Arts & Social Sciences > Music
Date available in CRO: 22 Oct 2021 08:53
URI: https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/26935
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