Review of Thomas Turino. 2000. Nationalists, Cosmopolitans, and Popular Music in Zimbabwe. Chicago: University of Chicago Press

Emoff, Ron

Tom Turino begins his most recent book, Nationalists, Cosmopolitans, and Popular Music in Zimbabwe, by discussing interactions between “the global” and “the local.” Turino concerns himself here with the dynamics of such interactions in urban popular music production in Harare, Zimbabwe, from the 1930s through the 1990s. He writes that his main goal “is to clarify the continuities and parallel cultural effects of colonialism, nationalism, and cosmopolitanism-three phenomena often understood in opposition to each other” (4). He contends that an ideologic opposition as such commonly proves to be ephemeral among Zimbabweans themselves, who experience and embody globalizing processes more at the level of their own “lifeways,” cultural values, and sense(s) of identity. Turino writes that while this analysis is not unique to Zimbabwe, it is of particular impact there due to the “historical proximity and rapid pace” of such processes of global interaction in Zimbabwe. It is likely that Turino’s prior interest in performing on mbira, a Zimbabwean musical instrument, has also affected his choice of locale in which to perform ethnography, and thus to interpret these specific histories and constructions of nationalism and cosmopolitanism.


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August 18, 2022