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The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies, 7 Volume Set by Fabienne Darling-Wolf, Radhika Parameswaran, Erica Scharrer, Vicki Mayer, Sharon Mazzarella, Kelly Gates, John Nerone, Angharad N. Valdivia

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24

Calypso and the Performance of Representational Politics

Susan Harewood

ABSTRACT

This chapter focuses on the intersection of representation in calypso performance, representation in calypso research, and representation in parliament. The chapter highlights the ways in which a particular discourse of citizenship shapes the ways in which calypso is thought about and how the democratic project in the English-speaking Caribbean is imagined through calypso performance. The argument focuses on the productive nature of calypso research. It is contended that much of this research, though vitally important to identifying the significance of calypso within the region, has, nevertheless, tended to reinscribe a rather limited view of citizenship. The chapter makes a case for reimagining calypso's political significance by suggesting ways to reinvigorate the creative practices of calypso research.

Any licit approach to questions about representation, in other words, must make available a shifting multifocal and mobile set of grids.

(Shohat, 1995, p. 176)

A critical question for many is, Where are the new Carnival musics leading? Or, to put it another way, what kinds of future might be envisioned through them?

(Guilbault, 2007, p. 276)

Calypso has been at the center of the modern Anglo-Caribbean nation-state. The calypsonian (i.e., the performer/writer of calypsos) played a key role in resisting imperialism in the pre-independence period and, in the post-independence period, calypsonians ...

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