Musical nationalisms have proceeded by imagining ruptures and discontinuities in place of shared repertories and continuities. This has been a history deeply implicated in the tragedies of the modern age. The Aryanization of European music history described by Bohlman (1993) creates a rupture between the Christian and Jewish/Muslim Mediterranean, histories which made possible difference and ultimately genocide. In this sense the Mediterranean has been a cultural battleground. Widely distributed repertories, styles and genres pose intractable problems for those who believe, according to the tenets of the ethnic nationalisms of yesterday and today, that the histories of sharing and inclusion so often focussed on music can be reformulated into narratives of possession and exclusion. Given the fact that musics are so difficult to control and police, it is not particularly surprising that music should be the focus of such intense and insistent efforts to reimagine the past.
These reimaginings and remappings are a matter of contestation. A number of distinct, identifiable interests are involved, as this brief discussion of a number of Turkish texts will have demonstrated. Perhaps the most evasive and complex of these reimaginings takes place in a domain shaped by the popular commercial markets. It is perhaps for these reasons that 'nostalji' is cast so explicitly as a 'problem' for musicologists such as Behar: its flamboyantly popular character makes it so readily available for exploitation in the hands of the liberal managers of the state and the city. For Behar, music history is a critical operation: it is about 'real time' and should be able to intervene in 'real time'. For him, music history must engage with, and query the present, and nostalgia, he implies, fails to do this.
There is perhaps more going on in and around popular nostalgia than writers such as Behar are prepared to acknowledge. Nostalgia is indeed a desirable and, perhaps, increasingly necessary commodity for those living on the Mediterranean peripheries of North West Europe. Ideological and administrative marginalization from 'fortress Europe' constitute an unpalatable fact of daily existence for many Turks and North Africans. The raw materials of nostalgia are easy to come by, and indeed, exploit. But the dreams and fantasies shaped in this commercial genre exist in a domain which is perhaps distant from, but not entirely disconnected from the world of academic scholarship. An anthropological understanding of music history, in the sense proposed by Davis, must at least attempt to discuss the organisation and practices of both academic and popular historical consciousness in the same breath: this way of looking at things would illuminate at least some of the richness and emotional force of music as a means of thinking about and experiencing time, history and place.
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