Performing the self: rappers, urban space and identity in Dar es Salaam

Kerr, David (2014). Performing the self: rappers, urban space and identity in Dar es Salaam. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Hip hop is part of a global economy of music, images and signs. In Tanzania, since political and economic liberalisation in the 1990s, local musical forms which appropriate the practice of rapping have become popular. Rapping has become a widespread practice which has produced musical stars as well as unrecorded ‘underground’ rappers. This study explores the aesthetic, performative and ideological commonalities and differences between these two forms of rapping. Situated at the intersection of debates about masculinity, youth and globalisation, this study will contribute to ongoing debates about new forms of identity and sociality created by rappers. It explores both appropriation from the transnational circulation of styles and signs as well as local orders of meaning rappers use to fashion themselves. While recognising the difficult social and economic conditions under which young people in Dar es Salaam live, I view rapping as productive and highlight the creativity, inventiveness and ingenuity of rappers.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Department of African Studies and Anthropology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT Africa
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
M Music and Books on Music > M Music


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