USP Theses Collection


close this section of the library Hindu women -- Fiji -- Songs and music

View the PDF document Gendering through songs : an analysis of gender discourse and performativity in Indo-Fijian vivah ke geet (wedding songs)
Author: Shandil, Vicky Vishal
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Award: M.A.
Subject: Hindu women -- Fiji -- Songs and music, Hindu women -- Fiji -- Social life and customs, Wedding music -- Fiji
Date: 2014
Call No.: Pac HQ 1867 .7 .S53 2014
BRN: 1197255
Copyright:20-40% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission

Abstract: This thesis will provide an insight into the Indo-Fijian gender situation through an analysis of one of the discursive practices that is instrumental in the construction and sustenance of gendered identity. The analysis will founded on Judith Butler’s theory of Gender Performativity as outlined in Gender Trouble and Bodies that Matter. This thesis will focus on Vivah ke Geet or wedding songs which is a form of Indo-Fijian folklore and also provides a comprehensive viewpoint of its female performers. A close reading of the songs will be done to identify its gendered content and the gendered nature of the various premises like religion, culture and history from which these songs are sourced. This thesis aims to expose the intrusion and existence of patriarchal notions of femininity within this art-form and how it has historically been mechanised as a manipulative medium to reproduce subservient women. The thesis will particularly focus on the creation and performance of these songs by females whose very attributes and perceptions indicate a patriarchal alignment. Since the female element in these songs is being examined there will be a focus on the concept of female voice and how it has historically been used in a complicit fashion to reinforce rather than challenge androcentric ideologies. Then the thesis assumes a historical perspective and outlines the development of folklore studies mainly the female element in it. The discussion will then move onto a more concise approach in analysing from a feminist perspective the performance of folksongs in the Indo-Fijian context. Later the thesis will elaborate on the subversive potential and emergence in both real life and folksong performances and the threat it poses to patriarchy. The thesis will also analyse Vivah ke Geet as texts that have been and still are being performed by past and contemporary singers in wedding situations to meet entertainment and pedagogical needs. The views and opinions of singers will consistently intertwined with the discussions to perspicuously depict how the songs symbolise the delitescent perceptions and insights of their composers and performers. The thesis will conclude that these songs have represented gendered and asymmetrical views historically because those foundations on which the songs were based were also gendered to begin with. However, the thesis will assert that due to social transformations much of these views have been disproved. Thus, Vivah ke Geet is in need of rewriting and resignification to represent women as autonomous, powerful and able as they have proved themselves to be in real life. The hope is that such rewriting will not only alter this particular discursive practice but cause a widespread overhaul of all discursive processes as it is within the confines of these that identities form.
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