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.

Open Access (free)
Languages of racism and resistance in Neapolitan street markets

Race Talk is about racism and multilingual communication. The book draws on original, ethnographic research conducted on heterogeneous and multiethnic street markets in Napoli, southern Italy, in 2012. Here, Neapolitan street vendors worked alongside migrants from Senegal, Nigeria, Bangladesh and China as part of an ambivalent, cooperative and unequal quest to survive and prosper. A heteroglossia of different kinds of talk revealed the relations of domination and subordination between people. It showed how racialised hierarchies were enforced, as well as how ambivalent and novel transcultural solidarities emerged in everyday interaction. Street markets in Napoli provided important economic possibilities for both those born in the city, and those who had arrived more recently. However, anti-immigration politics, austerity and urban regeneration projects increasingly limited people’s ability to make a living in this way. In response, the street vendors organised politically. Their collective action was underpinned by an antihegemonic, multilingual talk through which they spoke back to power. Since that time, racism has surged in Napoli, and across the world, whilst human movement has continued unabated, because of worsening political, economic and environmental conditions. The book suggests that the edginess of multilingual talk – amongst people diversified in terms of race, legal status, religion and language, but united by an understanding of their potential disposability – offers useful insights into the kinds of imaginaries that will be needed to overcome the politics of borders and nationalism.

Antonia Lucia Dawes

NAPOLI HAS BEEN a significant location for arrivals and departures throughout history. Everyone from holidaying European nobility to foreign invaders and emigrating southern Italian peasantry has settled or passed through the city and left their mark there. In Mediterranean Crossings , Iain Chambers argued that the city’s ‘creolised past’ complicates the narratives of Italian nation-building that emerged over the coursed of the nineteenth century because Napoli’s political, economic and geographical culture continued to be infused by a Greek, Byzantine

in Race talk
The revival of Lucanian wheat festivals
Lorenzo Ferrarini

Basilicata are no longer involved in agriculture, wheat festivals continue to be actively practised and indeed since 2010 both the number of festivals and attendance have been on the increase. Multilayered arrays of candles are created for the purpose of making offerings to the local saints in many parts of southern Italy. In past times, however, candles were an expensive commodity that was not within everyone’s means. Peasants would instead create these arrays by tying ears of wheat together using a similar wooden frame but without the candles. Thick with ears of wheat

in Sonic ethnography
Open Access (free)
Environmental justice and citizen science in a post-truth age
Editors: Thom Davies and Alice Mah

This book examines the relationship between environmental justice and citizen science, focusing on enduring issues and new challenges in a post-truth age. Debates over science, facts, and values have always been pivotal within environmental justice struggles. For decades, environmental justice activists have campaigned against the misuses of science, while at the same time engaging in community-led citizen science. However, post-truth politics has threatened science itself. This book makes the case for the importance of science, knowledge, and data that are produced by and for ordinary people living with environmental risks and hazards. The international, interdisciplinary contributions range from grassroots environmental justice struggles in American hog country and contaminated indigenous communities, to local environmental controversies in Spain and China, to questions about “knowledge justice,” citizenship, participation, and data in citizen science surrounding toxicity. The book features inspiring studies of community-based participatory environmental health and justice research; different ways of sensing, witnessing, and interpreting environmental injustice; political strategies for seeking environmental justice; and ways of expanding the concepts and forms of engagement of citizen science around the world. While the book will be of critical interest to specialists in social and environmental sciences, it will also be accessible to graduate and postgraduate audiences. More broadly, the book will appeal to members of the public interested in social justice issues, as well as community members who are thinking about participating in citizen science and activism. Toxic Truths includes distinguished contributing authors in the field of environmental justice, alongside cutting-edge research from emerging scholars and community activists.

Antonia Lucia Dawes

dexterity. But those who could not were often disregarded and blamed for the mistreatment they experienced on the part of people in the street, the police or local organised crime groups. Some of the same Neapolitans who spoke melancholically about their subordinated status in Italy as southern Italians – a status that I have argued was frequently tied up with speaking Neapolitan – also called for migrants to assimilate linguistically in order to survive and be accepted in Napoli. At this point hierarchical ‘language attitudes’ about Neapolitan were invoked to excuse an

in Race talk
Open Access (free)
Lorenzo Ferrarini and Nicola Scaldaferri

In this work, we focus our attention on the role of sound in the formation of local identities in the southern Italian region of Basilicata. Through a combination of text, photographs and sound recordings, we will concentrate on soundful cultural performances, including religious festivals and collective events meant to promote cultural heritage, as well as more informal musical performances. Throughout the book we will listen to tree rituals, carnivals, pilgrimages and archival sound recordings, to understand how in the acoustic dimension people mark space

in Sonic ethnography
Open Access (free)
Recorded memories and diasporic identity in the archive of Giuseppe Chiaffitella
Nicola Scaldaferri

creation of preconceptions as much as they were creating communities. Many records of southern Italian music, for example, were full of references to the Sicilian Mafia (Fugazzotto 2010 ). The importance of musical practices and sound recordings for maintaining identities in diasporic communities is even more crucial wherever the connection with the country of origin is less clearly defined and the imaginary component is more pronounced. A good example is provided by Shelemay in her work on Syrian Jews: it is a musical genre, the Pizmon, that is crucial to preserving a

in Sonic ethnography
Listening to the Campanaccio of San Mauro Forte
Nicola Scaldaferri

, the Campanaccio of San Mauro was the subject of team research carried out in 2003 and 2004. In addition to my essay, Steven Feld created a soundscape composition with DSM recordings and Stefano Vaja published a photographic sequence (Scaldaferri 2005 ). The photographs at the end of this chapter, by Vaja, were made in the context of that research. In San Mauro Forte, following a trend common to many villages in southern Italy, the population has decreased by half since the 1970s, on account of migratory flows that bring away young people who struggle to find

in Sonic ethnography
Open Access (free)
Towards a sonic ethnography of the Maggio festival in Accettura
Lorenzo Ferrarini and Nicola Scaldaferri

the organisation or transport of the trees. Among the institutionalised sounds are the religious musical repertoires, especially the devotional songs for St Julian, which happen at strictly defined moments and places. The music of tarantelle played on the organetto accompanies the dancing of women with votive offerings of candles on their heads, and later on the Tuesday when these offerings are brought in the procession for St Julian. Moreover, it has now become common, as in other village festivals in southern Italy, to schedule a well-known Italian pop music

in Sonic ethnography