Abstract Thesis.pdf - Abstract Thesis

					Abstract Thesis

This thesis examines the effects that choral singing can have on the construction of

Australian Aboriginal identities. The research is based on outcomes of an applied

ethnomusicological project undertaken in the Lutheran Australian Aboriginal community

of Hopevale, Northern Queensland Australia between September 2004 and June 2005.

         The project methodology used was participatory action research (PAR). I

facilitated the Hopevale Community Choir to promote local wellbeing. The theoretical

basis underpinning this approach is outlined in chapter one. Chapter two looks at the

practicalities of the applied methodology and how I developed an ethnographically

informed approach to choral facilitation. In the third chapter I use choir members’

biographies to investigate how choral singing influenced the lives of individual singers.

Here I describe Hopevalian performance aesthetics based on the concept of ‘communal

individuality’ where individual performers are seen as being as important as the choir as a


         Chapter four, five and six discuss the influences of Australian social history and

local Hopevalian history on the construction of identities. Chapter four presents the non-

localised meta-theory related to constructs of Aboriginality. Chapters five and six

examine localised, context-specific Hopevalian history and historiography and its impact

on constructs of Hopevalian identity. In chapter six I show how hymnody was used in

Hopevale during missionisation to influence local identities. In chapter seven I describe

the choir’s four-day tour through Northern Queensland. I use the tour to further examine

the relationship between Aboriginality, spirituality, tourism and wellbeing in relation to
choral singing. The conclusion functions as an evaluation and summary of the applied

project. It assesses the implications of the research outcomes and offers suggestions for

future research. Throughout this thesis there is an emphasis on Aboriginal diversity, a

concern for ‘voice’ in the construction of ethnography and advocacy for Aboriginal