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Spirit SongAfro-Brazilian Religious Music and Boundaries$
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Marc Gidal

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199368211

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199368211.001.0001

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Musical Boundary-Work in a Multi-Faith Community

(p.163) Conclusion
Spirit Song

Marc Gidal

Oxford University Press

The concluding chapter categorizes types of musical boundary-work described in the book. The Afro-gaucho religious community behaves inclusively and exclusively in its musical practices and discourses. Inclusive processes, what the community calls “crossing,” contain what the chapter describes as hiding, blurring, combining, influencing, shifting, and expanding boundaries. Each of these interrelated combinatory processes also illuminates different motivations, interpretations, or results. On the other hand, the local discourse of purity and its influence on musical practices show explicit and implicit ways that devotees preserve traditions, enforce authenticity, and exclude others through boundary-work. Musical boundary-work thus expresses politics of difference. This combination of ethnomusicology and symbolic boundary theory categorizes and analyzes the ways people distinguish their practices, affiliations, and worship houses, and ultimately themselves, from others within larger religious communities.

Keywords:   music, religion, boundary-work, symbolic boundary studies, ethnomusicology

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