Making and performing ‘chicha’ : A preliminary study of the contribution made by rural-urban migrant communities to cultural production in Lima, Peru.

Authors: Hodges, C.E.M. and Denegri-Knott, J.

Conference: In the Balance: Indigeneity, Performance, Globalisation Conference

Dates: 24-27 October 2013


In this paper, we define performance from an anthropological perspective, as social practices, processes and modes of communication connected with social organisation and transformation, throughwhich socio-cultural actors (producers) and audiences (consumers) socially construct meaning (Turner; 1986; Bauman, 1990). Studied ethnographically, performances include various forms of cultural mediation involving symbolic acts and actions in which identities are continuously being (re)negotiated and recreated. Our empirical focus is chicha culture in Lima and we seek to understand how previously marginalised cultural tropes are bound up in processes of globalisation which now play an important role in defining and promoting Lima’s identity. 'Chicha' has become a term often used nowadays to frame and make sense of Peru’s popular culture. Bailón and Nicoli (2010) embed their analysis of chicha in the emergence of the chicha musical genre in the 1960s, a genre combining Andean music with other music of foreign extraction which dealt with the everyday struggles of rural migrants adapting to life in Lima. Today, the cultural presence and agency of these migrant communities is reflected in varied cultural practices and forms of expression -music, visual design and other forms of cultural media, characterised by an aesthetic rich in Andean iconography, colours and musical genres. Analysing aesthetic production as interactions, these migrants are not merely agents who manoeuvre tactically within a constrained field of power but active producers who meaningfully re-purpose varied cultural objects and practices, local and global, indiscriminately. Our presentation combines an analysis of the historical, structural and socio-cultural processes of chicha cultural production, which have led to the increasing visibility of chicha within Limeñian society, with elements of visual ethnographic footage and aesthetic analysis.

Source: Manual

Preferred by: Janice Denegri-Knott