The consideration of the methods of observation and what I have called the 'mediatisation' of ethnomusicological discourse enables us to review our own observations, methodologies and discourses from an epistemological point of view. If we disown any relationship with our scholarly forefathers with respect to the study of a distant and historical "other", punishing them for their problematic preconceptions and impure political, religious or commercial agendas, we are faced with serious problems of historical and scientific method. By reviewing history purged of its stereotypes, one can discover the diversity of attitudes and connectedness of its particular modes of knowledge through a dialogue with the present. Is it possible for us today to abrogate our responsibility for debating knowledge as a means of power, to search for new possibilities of multicultural cohabitation, to interrogate its relation with the opening of new commercial markets and of ethnomusicological discourse as a privilege of Western travelers?
The sheer variety of scholarly work today seems to indicate that the threads of history, diverse and contradictory as they may be, are not entirely severed, and that the new sciences cannot be explained exclusively in relation to the second colonial expansion of the last third of the 20th century. Going back to history enables us to initiate a necessary exercise in reflexive speculation.
Forward | Main page | References