Urban Ethnomusicology in the City of Thessaloniki (Greece): The Case of Rebetiko Song Revival Today

Tragaki, Dafni. 2002. Urban Ethnomusicology in the City of Thessaloniki (Greece): The Case of Rebetiko Song Revival Today. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis is an ethnography of contemporary rebetiko music performance contexts in the city of Thessaloniki. It is the outcome of a research experience I underwent during the years 1997-98 in Ano Poli, a state-declared 'conservation' area of the city. The ethnography is organized in three case studies, each one representing a different performance context: (a) rebetiko concerts held in an 'ethnic' cafe bar, (b) a rebetiko taverna and, (c) a special rebetiko ghlendi (‘revelry') event. These case studies are current expressions of rebetiko entertainment, upon which my discussion of the ongoing revival of the genre in Greek society today is primarily based.

My main concern in the thesis is to discuss how people make sense of and communicate rebetiko music culture as a lived experience in different contemporary rebetiko venues. To that extent, the knowledge of revivalist culture is grounded on the aesthetics and discourses which are 'other-ing' rebetiko music today. Eventually, such discourses and aesthetics provide the means for the theoretical discussion of the ways the genre is experienced as 'world music' in certain entertainment settings. These questions are explored within the broader framework of postmodern socio-cultural transformations, which appear to condition variously the contemporary revivalist culture. The ethnography is additionally underpinned with an introductory part that aims to describe the genre and provide a brief review of rebetiko history and associated rhetorics.

Overall, there are two mam ethnographic orientations featured in this ethnography concerning the processes of doing fieldwork, as well as thinking and writing about it. One is the fact that I am a native researcher, born and grown up in the 'field'; the other being that this is an urban ethnography bearing the particularities and complex networks of city culture. Finally, this thesis is not just a current ethnography of rebetiko music; it becomes an ethnographic embodiment of the multiple dynamics of reflexivity defining the process of doing urban ethnomusicology at home.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

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rebetiko music, performance, ethnographic research, Thessaloniki, world music, urban ethnomusicology

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Date Deposited:

15 Jun 2020 08:45

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 12:41



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