Fusion as inclusion: A Lima upper class delusion?

Fiorella Montero Diaz

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis examines Peruvian popular intercultural music fusions and their impact among the white upper classes of Lima, Peru. Often antagonised, essentialised and understudied, Lima’s white upper classes have historically distanced themselves from the city’s migrant Andean/Amazonian population, whilst maintaining a relationship of hegemony. However, in the aftermath of the trauma and mass displacements of the twenty-year internal war (1980-2000) between the State and terrorist groups, certain sectors among the young upper classes have come to question their own social dominance. This study charts how certain aspects of this re-negotiation of identity and social position, and a desire for integration with wider Peruvian society, has been articulated through the medium of fusions musics.

In particular, since 2005 fusion music has crystallised into a distinct genre and received a notable boom in popularity. These recent developments in fusion music are placed within a broad historical frame and the context of Peru’s fraught racial and class relations, to examine how discourses of integration are juxtaposed with those of appropriation, theft, exoticisation and acculturation. How, it is asked, are the processes of mixing, creating and performing ‘someone else’s music’ negotiated? Does fusion music simply propagate a naïve, chauvinist delusion of social progress and equality in the context of a post-war macroeconomic boom, as some Lima critics have argued? This study would appear to challenge them, as it documents how a segment of the young white upper class Lima population interpret and attempt to use fusion music as an anti-hegemonic instrument that seeks to convey a political message of inclusion, integration, social justice and peace.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Stobart, Henry, Supervisor
  • Morcom, Anna, Advisor
Award date1 May 2014
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014


  • Fusion music
  • hybridity
  • elites
  • race
  • Peruvian internal war
  • Lima
  • Peru
  • indigeneity
  • identity
  • whiteness
  • urban youth
  • cultural consumption
  • youth culture
  • cultural inclusion

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