ISSN: 17526299
First published in 2008
3 issues per volume
Volume 1 Issue 2
Cover Date: 2008
Practice, ritual and community music: doing as identity
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Authors:  Helen Phelan 
DOI: 10.1386/ijcm.1.2.143_1

community music, ritual, practice theory, redemptive hegemony, asylum seekers

As a specialist in ritual theory and performance, with some professional experience of communtiy music, I have always been struck by the robust resistance to clear-cut definitions or identities, by both ‘ritual’ and ‘community music’. This article takes as its point of departure the proposal of ritual scholar Catherine Bell, that we abandon the quest for conceptual identity and more fruitfully turn our attention to the potential of practice to generate its own identity. Drawing on a post-modern interpretation of practice theory, she explores four ways in which practices generate meaning: through strategic behaviour, situationality, the necessary ‘misrecognition’ of its own enterprise, and its potential for ‘redemptive hegemony’ in its discourse with power. The paper concludes with an example from my own work with the refugee and asylum seeking community in Limerick, and an interrogation of Bell's proposal, with reference to this experience of music-making.
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