In this thesis I will investigate the role that World Music plays moving through Appadurai's (1990, 1999) 'deterritorialized' terrain of the global imagination. His 'disjunctive flow' of cultural information is an approach which conceptually views music as a cultural expression traversing this terrain. It is asserted here that the terrain of the imagination is associated with a shift in the 'cultural landscape', as postulated by Friedman (1994) in connection with his premise that there has been a 'crisis of identity', which has fostered an environment where a search for cultural identity and meaning with relevance for the globalized cultural landscape is underway. In this thesis I will analyse how and why it is an embattled terrain, with public and academic debate contesting notions of authenticity, representation, and ownership, all of which are implicated in the production, distribution and consumption of World Music.
The band Yothu Yindi illustrates 'local' (or micro) performers negotiation of the politics of identity, demonstrating that they are an active, cognizant, and empowered source of cultural information contributing to the construction and maintenance of macro identities and social formations within the globalized cultural landscape. This perspective is developed through a deep contextualization of the band, locating their posteriori position (Miller: 1995) within the terrain. When this is done it reveals what Neuenfeldt (1998) describes as 'extra-musical objectives', which is an acknowledgment that the production and consumption of music is premised on a cultural agenda. The approach adopted in this thesis accepts Garafalo's (1993) challenge of engaging with the task of developing methodological and theoretical frameworks which critique cultural imperialist interpretations and concurrently acknowledges the internal dynamics which resist and respond to shifts in the cultural and political landscape as demonstrated by Yothu Yindi.