Michael Jackson—‘Billie Jean’

  • Martyn Wemyss Goldsmiths College, Anthropology

Abstract

In the first few months of my fieldwork in Bolivia the death of Michael Jackson prompted a shift in the soundtrack to daily life: for a brief window his music was everywhere. In the weeks that followed, I witnessed two Michael Jackson impersonators perform, one outside a church and one outside a school in the days that followed. Here I set the encounters with these two Michaels within the sonic world I had previously experienced, and frame them as ‘stagings’: momentary performances where cosmopolitan figures and frames are brought into local performances. I recount other such stagings and suggest that Michael Jackson’s death made him available to be danced in different contexts in which the new Bolivian modernity is produced.

Section
Special section
Published
Feb 6, 2019
How to Cite
Wemyss, M. (2019). Michael Jackson—‘Billie Jean’. Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society, 43(2), 109-113. https://doi.org/10.30676/jfas.v43i2.78147