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Intercultural Memories

Contesting Places, Spaces, and Stories

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Edited By Ahmet Atay, Yea-Wen Chen and Alberto González

Collective remembering is an important way that communities name and make sense of the past. Places and stories about the past influence how communities remember the past, how they try to preserve it, or in some cases how they try to erase it. The research in this book offers key insights into how places and memories intersect with intercultural conflicts, oppressions, and struggles by which communities make sense of, deal with, and reconcile the past. The authors in this book examine fascinating stories from important sites—such as international commemorations of Korean “Comfort Women,” a film representation of the Stonewall Riots, and remembrances of the post-communist state in Albania. By utilizing various critical and cultural studies and ethnographic and narrative-based methods, each chapter examines cultural memory in intercultural encounters, everyday experiences, and identity performances that evoke collective memories of colonial pasts, immigration processes, and memories of places and spaces that are shaped by power structures and clashing ideologies. This book is essential reading for understanding the links between space/place and cultural memory, memories of nationally, and places constituted by markers of ethnicity, race, and sexuality. These readings are especially useful in courses in intercultural communication, cultural studies, international studies, and peace and conflict studies.
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9. “Funk Isn’t a Trend; It’s a Necessity”: Favela Funk’s Vernacular Discourse and the Struggle for Cultural Legitimation

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RAQUEL MOREIRA

Graceland University

“It is now decided that funk is a musical and cultural movement,” states the text of a 2009 statutory law, proposed and promoted by favela funk artists and supporters (ALERJ, 2009). Rio de Janeiro’s favela funk is a musical genre and cultural movement poor folks of color developed in the 1980s. The characteristic beats, lyrics, dance moves, and clothing suggest a “social practice that is historically situated” (Lopes, 2011, p. 19): favela funk is the product of continuous unequal and violent conditions poor people of color face inside Rio’s slums. The movement has been the target of various government sanctions, most of which prohibit parties in favelas with the justification that they promote drug trafficking and promiscuous practices, among other morally condemnable reasons (Facina, 2009). When the 2009 bill was voted in the state’s legislature, supporters who were present sang and danced to the 1990s hit “Silva’s Rap,” a song about favela funk being a necessity for its poor people, and not just a cultural trend. This was an odd occurrence given the history of criminalization and persecution that same House promoted against the movement (Lopes, 2011). That day, many poor Afro-Brazilians walked into Rio’s state capitol for the first time with the goal of defending favela funk against the government’s historical maltreatment (Lopes, 2011). As a result of the positive vote, authors and supporters of the bill celebrated the fact that, like samba, funk would no longer be a...

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