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    Songs of Deviance and Defiance: Subjectivity, emotions and authenticity in Bhawaiya Folk Songs of North Bengal

    Khandoker, Nasrin (2019) Songs of Deviance and Defiance: Subjectivity, emotions and authenticity in Bhawaiya Folk Songs of North Bengal. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Bhawaiya is one of the most popular folk song genres to Bengalis. While all Bangla folk songs express the emotions and the stories of the most marginal people, Bhawaiya is significant for expressing the female passion grounded in day to day material reality through the stories of the female subject of the songs. The passionate lyrics of Bhawaiya, when expressing love and desire for a woman’s lover, are not always bound to marital or ‘legitimate’ sexual relations. In this research, through the lens of these songs, I wanted to locate those emotions that are often seems deviant but at the same time can defy the normative control, to construct the female subversive subjectivities. To situate Bhawaiya, I reexamined the generic borders between Bhawaiya and other main Bangla folks song genres that were constructed through the rise of Bengali nationalism to see how Bhawaiya existed in the margins with subversive emotions connected to those identities. Through my ethnographical research of the ‘Bhawaiya people’, such as singers, producers, researchers in the main Bhawaiya areas, I see how those emotions are evoked through performances and how they made connections between the performers and the listeners. Since the contemporary reproduction of folk songs genres is difficult to compare with the original traditional forms due to the technological changes and appropriation by artists and their different interests, I also examined how these changes create an emotional atmosphere that affects the singers and the listeners. The appropriation of folk songs by contemporary singers has also raised heated debate about authenticity. I analysed how, without having the authority over authenticating the folk songs, the marginal singers and folk song producers create a vast market for the songs that are often considered deviant. These songs, despite being considered deviant by the authorities of Bangla folk songs, can challenge the authorities of authenticity debate. Through these aspects, I examined the subversive possibilities within Bangla folk songs for the people on the margins tracing the construction of the perils and pleasures of sexual subjectivity through a variety of Bangla social-cultural fields.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Songs; Deviance; Defiance; Subjectivity; emotions; authenticity; Bhawaiya; Folk Songs; North Bengal;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Anthropology
    Item ID: 13898
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2021 15:19
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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