Examining contemporary fieldwork challenges: researching minority music in Serbia
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Exploring musical culture to which you approach as cultural outsider, brings with it many challenges. This is also the case with Vlach minority living in northeastern Serbia, whose research is further complicated by the current political developments and division of its members over how they see themselves. The first problem that arises is the question of who to choose as interlocutor (should the selection be made exclusively on the basis of nationality or on the basis of knowledge of Vlach music). In this regard also arises question how to choose (whether to address local communities, cultural centers and National Council of Vlachs, or go to the fi eld without prior notice and inquire directly with the people in the village). Next dilemma is what aspects of musical life should be taken in consideration (private, public, virtual). The issues of attitudes towards the researcher is particularly important, especially since the (re)construction of cultural values is in force in the Vlach c...ommunity (researcher is usually seen in two ways: as someone who can professionally contribute to this process, or as someone who, as a cultural outsider, should not deal with it at all). In that sense, the question of the infl uence of researchers on the examined community is also inevitable (is it possible not to infl uence at all?). In addition to addressing issues from a dichotomous perspective, it will be explored a space that allows the researcher to take “in between” position (of both insider and outsider) that brings challenges and benefi ts. These are just some of the issues and problems that will be raised in this paper, the methods of fi eld research will be reviewed and some new solutions that have emerged as a result of challenges in the field today will be presented.
- Institute of Musicology SASA, Beograd
- Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, Republic of Serbia, Grant no. 451-03-68/2020-14/200176 (Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts - SASA, Institute of Musicology, Belgrade) (RS-200176)