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Media, Music and Norms in Africa

Mamadou Diawara

29 Jun 2010 - 18:30

Auditorium 2

Free admission

Knowledge is produced according to norms. These norms are appropriated, re-appropriated, transformed according to the milieu and to the actors involved. Here the city and its residents, in other words the modern context, play a highly significant role. Music and performance were and are above all a highly complex social, political and economic phenomenon. 

The paper analyses the ways people involved in the music business in Africa refer to different registers of references according to the circumstances in order to produce and to sell their product. These registers might be as immediate as the sites where they usually migrate, for example in Europe and in America. They could be also the city, the village and the modern media (radio, TV, mobile phone and the World Wide Web) on one hand. On the other hand, they might seem to be as distant and abstract as the ancestors and the old local media. What are the links between contemporary production and present day creativity in Africa? How will the norms instituted in the past get transformed and sold on the world market?

Professor Mamadou Diawara is the Director of the Institut für Historische Ethnologie, Professor of Anthropology and Assistant Director of the Frobenius Institut at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, in Frankfurt/Main. He has a doctorate degree in African studies (History and Anthropology) from EHESS (School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences) in Paris. Since 1997 he has been Founding Director of Point Sud, The Centre for Research on Local Knowledge, in Bamako, Mali. Between 1996 and 1997 he was Henry Hart Rice Professor of Anthropology and History at the Yale Centre for International and Area Studies, at Yale University and between 2002 and 2003 he was History Professor at the University of Georgia, Athens in the United States.