Mumbo Jumbo, Jiggery-Pokery, Cosmopolitricks

Henriques, Julian F. and Xiang, Zairong. 2020. Mumbo Jumbo, Jiggery-Pokery, Cosmopolitricks. In: Zairong Xiang, ed. Minor Cosmopolitan: Thinking Art, Politics, and the Universe Together Otherwise. Zurich: Diaphanes, pp. 250-260. ISBN 9783035803044 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

The Jamaican belief system of Rastafari provides a striking example of a “minor” cosmopolitanism, especially in the ways this has found expression in global distribution of reggae music and the street technology of the sound system. Indeed the music and the phonographic instrument of the sound system embody several of the key features of an alternate, subaltern, base/ bass, black cosmopolitanism. This should be recognised as a living breathing challenge to the dominant cosmopolitanism that excludes the vast majority of humanity. This chapter, as a conversation with Zairong Xiang plays on/ off the differences of minor and major keys, scales and the hierarchies of micro and macro cosmoses. Thinking through the vibrations of sounding provides a counter-narrative to the dominant Enlightenment ocularcentrism, just as auditory propagation and diffusion can be used to displace the panoptical Gaze. As the “outernational” displaces the international, so diasporic does the cosmopolitan. In this manner the creativity and “livity” of the narrow street of the ghetto, casaba or favela undermine the wide-open boulevards of the Parisian and other metropolises. Similarly the collective, shared, creolized, indigenised and hacked popular street technology of the sound system interferes with the hermetically-sealed privately-owned consumer corporate product. Most importantly, the embodied techniques, practices and ways-of-knowing of the sound system audio engineers and crew provide the basis of a critique not only of the hegemony of epistemic knowledge, but also its concomitant ideology of progress.

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Book Section

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Media, Communications and Cultural Studies > Topology Research Unit


August 2020Published

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Date Deposited:

15 Jul 2021 12:58

Last Modified:

15 Jul 2021 12:59


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