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Open Access (free)
Identity, heritage and creative research practice in Basilicata, southern Italy

Sonic ethnography explores the role of sound-making and listening practices in the formation of local identities in the southern Italian region of Basilicata. The book uses a combination of text, photography and sound recording to investigate soundful cultural performances such as tree rituals, carnivals, pilgrimages, events promoting cultural heritage and more informal musical performances. Its approach demonstrates how in the acoustic domain tradition is made and disrupted, power struggles take place and acoustic communities are momentarily brought together in shared temporality and space. This book underlines how an attention to sound-making, recording and listening practices can bring innovative contributions to the ethnography of an area that has been studied by Italian and foreign scholars since the 1950s. The approaches of the classic anthropological scholarship on the region have become one of the forces at play in a complex field where discourses on a traditional past, politics of heritage and transnational diasporic communities interact. The book’s argument is carried forward not just by textual means, but also through the inclusion of six ‘sound-chapters’, that is, compositions of sound recordings themed so as to interact with the topic of the corresponding textual chapter, and through a large number of colour photographs. Two methodological chapters, respectively about doing research in sound and on photo-ethnography, explain the authors’ approach to field research and to the making of the book.

Struggles for power over a festival soundscape
Lorenzo Ferrarini

church bells in nineteenth-century rural France, provides another example of sound governance enforced through dissymmetrical sound production (1998). Village bells mark time and put the acoustic space they cover under the spiritual and political authority of the powers that ring them. They impose a structure on the days of the peasants, calling them to activities determined by those powers. The way bells contribute to building an acoustic community also applies to the Islamic call to prayer (Eisenberg 2013 ; Khan 2011 ), which like bells these days is most of the

in Sonic ethnography
Barbery, earwax and snip-snaps
Eleanor Decamp

barber’s shop music: the tune is not tuneful. Smith reflects: The soundscape of early modern London was made up of a number of overlapping, shifting acoustic communities, centered on different soundmarks: parish bells, the speech of different nationalities, the sounds of trades, open-air markets, the noises of public gathering places. Moving among these soundmarks – indeed, making these soundmarks in the process – Londoners in their daily lives followed their own discursive logic.56 But if trades are ‘soundmarked’, and thereby have specificity in this acoustic form of

in The senses in early modern England, 1558–1660
Open Access (free)
Lorenzo Ferrarini and Nicola Scaldaferri

are sometimes limited spatially and temporarily to the performance, that is, they are acoustic communities (Truax 1984 : 65–66) or communities of (sonic) practice that come together around a given event and might separate after its conclusion. In this introduction we unpack how we interpret the connection between sound and the formation of local identities, starting with some clarifications on these two key terms. Subsequently, we trace the main steps in the entanglements of ethnographic research, creative practice and cultural heritage in Basilicata, providing

in Sonic ethnography