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Choreographing 'Productive' Citizenship: On the Cultural Work of Music in NGOs in Uganda.

  • Author(s): Mugishagwe, Allan
  • Advisor(s): Guilbault, Jocelyne
  • et al.
Abstract

This project seeks to examine the cultural work of music in two Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Kampala, Uganda: Watoto Child Care Ministries and Uganda Heritage Roots (UHR). By `cultural work' I mean the ways in which music is connected to the historical, social, political and economic forces that constitute lived experience and relations between people. Over a period of twenty years (1966 - 1986), Uganda experienced several turbulent political regimes and violent confrontations causing numerous arrests and deaths, as well as poor economic conditions throughout the country. More recently, the AIDS epidemic, the recently ended war in the northern part of Uganda, as well as the issue of poverty throughout the country have escalated the humanitarian problem.

Numerous NGOs are currently in Uganda providing assistance to individuals who have been traumatized by these catastrophes. These NGOs aim to engage in development activities that address the quality of life of the aid recipients. The two organizations that are central to my project feature musical practices in their intervention. They teach musical practices to some of their aid recipients as part of the process of creating possibilities for the improvement of their living conditions by raising them into becoming self-sufficient and `productive' citizens. The project is guided by a twofold inquiry: 1) in what ways are musical practices conceived by the NGOs to be crucial in their efforts to create possibilities to improve the living conditions of their aid recipients and to raise them into `productive' citizens, and 2) and in what ways does the learning, practicing, and performance of featured musical practices actually impact the aid recipients' living conditions?

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