Ethnography and the archive : power and politics in five South African music archives

Lambrechts, Lizabe (2012-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study addresses issues concerning power and politics in five music archives in South Africa. It has a three-fold approach. First, it provides an overview of archival theory as it has developed since the French Revolution in 1789. It follows the trajectory of changing archival principles such as appraisal and provenance and provides an oversight into the changing understanding of ‘the archive’ as an impartial custodian of the Truth, to its conceptualisation in the Humanities as a concept deeply rooted in discourses around power, justice and knowledge production. Interrogating the unfolding concept of the archive throws into relief its current envisioned function within a post-Apartheid South Africa. Secondly, this dissertation explores five music archives in South Africa to investigate the level to which archival theory is engaged with and practiced in music archives. The archives in question are the International Library of African Music (ILAM), the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Radio and Sound Archive, the Gallo Record Archive, the Hidden Years Music Archive (HYMA) and the Documentation Centre for Music (DOMUS). This interrogation serves to illustrate how music archives take part in or subvert the power mechanisms inherent in archival practice. As such, this dissertation is situated within a body of scholarship that seeks to subvert the still prevailing consideration of the music archive as a neutral repository. Third, it investigates how a critical reading of music archives within a consideration of archival theory can add to our understanding of the practical realities of archives that firmly ground them as objects of power.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie spreek vraagstukke aan rakende mag en politiek in vyf Suid-Afrikaanse musiekargiewe. Die studie volg ‘n drie-ledige benadering. Eerstens gee dit ‘n oorsig van argivale teorie soos wat dit ontwikkel het vanaf die Franse Revolusie in 1789. Dit volg die trajek van veranderende argivale grondslae soos waardebepaling en oorspronklike herkoms en gee ‘n oorsig van die veranderende begrip van ‘die argief’ as ‘n neutrale kurator van die Waarheid, tot by die konsepsualisering van die argief in die Geesteswetenskappe as ‘n konsep wat gegrond is in diskoerse van mag, geregtigheid en die produksie van kennis. Die ondersoek na die ontluikende konsep van die argief bring breër kwessies rondom die voorgestelde funksie daarvan in ‘n post-Apartheid Suid-Afrika na vore. Tweedens verken hierdie studie vyf musiekargiewe in Suid-Afrika om ondersoek in te stel na die vlak waartoe daar in gesprek getree word met argivale teorie asook die mate waartoe hierdie teorie toegepas word in musiekargiewe. Die betrokke argiewe is die International Library of African Music (ILAM), die Suid-Afrikaanse Uitsaai Korporasie (SAUK) Radio en Klank Argief, die Gallo Record Argief, die Hidden Years Music Argief (HYMA) en die Dokumentasie Sentrum vir Musiek (DOMUS). Hierdie ondersoek illustreer hoe musiekargiewe in strukture van mag, inherent aan argiefpraktyk, deelneem of dit omverwerp. Dus staan die studie binne ’n vakkundige raamwerk wat daarna streef om die steeds heersende beskouing van die argief as ’n neutrale bewaarplek te ondermyn. Derdens ondersoek die studie maniere hoe ’n kritiese beskouing van musiekargiewe binne ’n raamwerk van argivale teorie kan bydra tot die verstaan van die praktiese realiteite van argiewe op ’n manier wat argiewe stewig begrond as objekte van mag.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/71685
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