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Expressions of popular culture (here we consider music and carnival) have often been analysed as manifestations of indirect resistance to oppression. Alternatively, they can be seen as displays and practices that dominant political and social elites can easily co-opt. Using a combination of published material and fieldwork observations in Cape Verde and Louisiana, we show how a complex interplay between resistance and co-optation arises. As prior or incoming cultures are creolized they become nationalized, officialized or commercialized, thereby becoming subject to mechanisms of ‘destructive tolerance’. However, processes of appropriation are continuously challenged by internal dissent, demands for authenticity and fresh creative inputs. Such inputs are frequently drawn from original (or imagined original) societies and emergent diasporic practices and identities, which we have deemed ‘diasporic echoes’.



Working paper


International Migration Institute

Publication Date




Total pages



Creolization, diaspora, resistance, co-optation, music, carnival