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The Performance of Tradition.: An Ethnography of Hira Gasy Popular Theatre in Madagascar.
Uppsala Universitet, Kulturantropologiska Instituionen.
1997 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study deals with the popular theatre performance of Hira Gasy, and its actors and audiences in the central highland regions of Imerina and northern Betsileo in Madagascar. The Hira Gasy has developed from a court to a rural performance during the last two centuries, a period influenced by first the British and then by the French presence in the country. Today, the performances are given in diverse contexts, the most common being in connection with reburial ceremonies. The Hira Gasy troupes all have a common form of their performance, with speeches, songs, acrobatics, dance and music, while the content is unique for each troupe, although given in a culturally recognized form.

The study is based on 19 month of fieldwork divided into five periods between 1991 and 1996. The main argument is that the Hira Gasy performances provide a forum in which the problems of identification and belonging are discussed. The 'foreigner'is used as a 'mirror image' for the rural and the poor in their aims to assert and shape their sense of belonging in a changing society. The symbols of identification - the ancestral land, the common tomb and the family solidarity - are felt to be threatened by increasing individualization and the decrease in the fulfillment of the ancestral duties. For the rural poor their feelings of marginality and powerlessness in relation to the economically and politically powerful urban elite are expressed in Hira Gasy. Through the practice of custom they sustain their moral dignity, which is one of the most important means in order to remain malagasy. The Hira Gasy performance are indigenious arenas for existential and moral discussions, and for providing a sense of belonging in a problematic reality shaped by both the 'way of the ancestors' and the 'way of the foreigner'.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Uppsala universitet, 1997. , 200 p.
Series
Uppsala Studies in Cultural Anthropology, Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, ISSN 0348-5099 ; 23
Keyword [en]
Madagascar, anthropology; anthropology and theatre; performance; Hira Gasy
National Category
Other Humanities not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-13996ISBN: 91-554-4070-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-13996DiVA: diva2:612797
Public defence
1997-12-08, Uppsala, 11:19 (English)
Available from: 2013-03-28 Created: 2013-03-25 Last updated: 2013-03-28Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard-cite-them-right
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • sv-SE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • de-DE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf