Being 'rasikas': the affective pleasures of music and dance spectatorship and nationhood in Indian middle-class modernity

Kalpana Ram*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The long-standing dominance of history in the adjudication of debates on postcolonialism and modernity in India has resulted in the relegation of the knowledge claims of 'classical' performance traditions and aesthetic concepts to the domain of the essentializing and the untrustworthy. This paper argues that performances of music and dance have preserved an understanding of tradition that is more dynamic and agential than that put forward by nationalist understandings of tradition, and that aesthetic conceptions continue to illuminate the values and efficacy of these practices in engaging the affects of spectators. The paper explores in particular the subject position of the rasika as offering a distinctive way of inhabiting the present. The class privilege implicit in being able to take up such an invitation is explored in the second part of the paper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S159-S175
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
Volume17
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2011

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