Files in this item



application/pdf9329154.pdf (13MB)Restricted to U of Illinois
(no description provided)PDF


Title:Music, identity, and the impact of tourism in the Portuguese Settlement, Melaka, Malaysia
Author(s):Sarkissian, Margaret Lynne
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Capwell, Charles
Department / Program:Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Anthropology, Cultural
Abstract:"Historical Melaka," a key theme in Malaysia's most rapidly expanding industry--tourism--is dominated by the romantic picture of adventurous Portuguese seafarers who arrived in 1511, were captivated by local beauties, and left a human legacy that has survived against all odds. In this dissertation, I examine how a distinct Portuguese community has, in fact, been constructed over the last half century and how its members have manipulated their "rediscovered" cultural identity only after being relocated from an ethnically mixed hamlet by colonial administrators concerned with preventing their imminent assimilation.
Simultaneously, with independence looming, upper-class Eurasians attempted to distance themselves from their adopted British roots. For them, Portuguese identity also proved an acceptable compromise: it had historical legitimacy, yet, by association with the "poor Settlement fisherfolk," was acceptable within the emerging nation. The chance visit of a Portuguese government minister provided an occasion to display their new affiliation publicly. Portuguese folk music and dances learned from a book were performed in his honor.
As the Settlement community blossomed and engulfed the upper class, the adopted dance groups proliferated at the expense of older hybrid musical genres. "Cultural groups" became a politically acceptable means of stating ethnic difference within the nation. Their contribution to the burgeoning tourist economy has led to many improvements, including increased visibility as a national minority. The groups have now become so entrenched within the community that young people, like the tourists, consider their music and dance to be "traditional."
Through tourism, the Settlement has become a forum within which diverse messages compete and speak simultaneously to different audiences, constituting a potential opportunity that the government--adept at manipulating all kinds of symbols in the process of nation building--has been quick to exploit. Viewed in this light, the government's marketing of the Portuguese Settlement becomes a clear attempt to convert it from a rather unusual housing estate into an historical monument. Promoting the Settlement under the guise of tourism, the government has covertly coopted it for political gain, symbolically displaying their power over exoticized, make-believe Europeans.
Issue Date:1993
Rights Information:Copyright 1993 Sarkissian, Margaret Lynne
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9329154
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9329154

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Item Statistics