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Popular Music and Identity Formation: Music in Daily Life of the Chinese Community in Liverpool

Popular Music and Identity Formation: Music in Daily Life of the Chinese Community in Liverpool,Stella Lau

Popular Music and Identity Formation: Music in Daily Life of the Chinese Community in Liverpool  
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This research investigates the role of music in the formation of Chinese identity. The investigation is based on research carried out amongst twenty-three Chinese people in Liverpool. The main discussion is concerned with the subject of ethnic identity, focusing particularly on contested notions of identity, stereotypes of Chineseness and the notion of 'home'. Such discussion, however, cannot be relevant without an overview of the development of Liverpool's Chinese community. Methodology The research undertaken was mainly ethnographic and it took place from late October to mid December in 2001. Interviews were conducted with 23 Chinese respondents in Liverpool. Age is the framework determining the structure of the research; four different age groups, namely Group A (11 -19), Group B (20 -29), Group C (40s -50s), Group D (60s-70s) are then set up. Interviews with Group A and B were done in groups whilst the interviews with Group C and D were conducted individually. As well as conducting interviews, I also arranged a music - listening for Group A and B. In the test, I played seven music samples played by different Chinese artists. Before I played the sample tape, I instructed the respondents to write down whatever associations and imageries they would have in their minds when listening to the samp les. The test was carried out in order to investigate how the younger Chinese, who usually have greater exposure to western music, connect the sense of place and ethnicity with the sounds and words in the music. Alongside the interviews and tests, daily observations were made about the cultural and musical lives of the Chinese community in Liverpool during the time of research. Literature review Some important existing literature related to the history of Chinese people in Liverpool includes works by Lynn, I. and Lee, G.. Loh (1982) deals with the historical perspectives of migration of Chinese people and tries to show how in the last hundred years or so this migration has passed through different phases progressively. Lee (1996) provides some relevant examples as to the stereotypes of Chineseness, i.e. the notion of being Chinese, in the racist and daily discourse in Liverpool. Chan, Y.M. & Chan, C. (1997) also present some important findings concerning the Chinese population in Britain drawn from the 1991 Census. Their findings show that the Chinese population is widely dispersed, increasing rapidly, and is characterized by a high child-bearing capacity and a low rate of unemployment. In addition, Stokes, M (1994) gives some important insights as to the
Published in 2003.
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