Sound and Social Research: Orality to Aurality
Sound in the social sciences is mainly an object of study articulated as the words of interviewees and typically transcribed as text. However, words and the sonic environment they are part of may not be simply reducible to written concepts. They are performative and engage modes of listening which imbricate the senses and may be usefully approached by other practical mean which involve making recordings and playing recordings back. The essence of the method therefore is: Listening, Recording and Playing back.
Working in this way can address questions about:
1. The use of language in the conduct of everyday life.
2. The relationship between perceptions of the environment and social and political formations.
3. The relationship between technology and the self
4. The bodily basis of hearing
Experts/users at Manchester
My current research primarily deals with the political ecology and cultural history of domestic and military aircraft noise in a multi-regional context. It is a continuation of fieldwork, sound and film productions carried out over the past three years which focused originally on US military bases in Okinawa and has expanded to the Japanese domestic airport at Narita, Tokyo and to airbases, museums and indigenous communities in North America. There are two projects:
1. with London College of the Arts and Kyoto University – Principal investigator of
interdisciplinary team with Dr Angus Carlyle ( LCA) and Prof Hiramatsu (JSPS).
Air Pressure: aircraft noise and perceptions of the environment. (2010-2012)
Funder: Wellcome Trust Arts Awards.
2. with Kyoto University – Joint project with Prof Hiramatsu (Asian and African Area
Studies Division). Sounds of Freedom: an investigation of the role of aircraft
noise in defining notions of community in Okinawa, Japan. (2008-2011)
Funder: Japan Society for the Promotion of Science & British Academy Awards
My collaboration with Professor Hiramatsu has led to a further funded project in a region – Laos – that extends the approach we have developed together to an institutional context with global reach, addressing the concerns that UNESCO has for the identification and preservation of intangible cultural heritage.
3. with Kyoto University – Member of interdisciplinary team led by Prof Hiramatsu.
Quantitative and Qualitative Impacts on the Sonic Environment; Toward the
Soundscape Design of Luangprabang (world heritage city), Laos PDR. Global
COE Program. In search of sustainable Humanosphere in Asia and Africa.
(2009-2012 ) Funder: Japan Education Ministry (Monbushô)
2008. ‘The Sound of One Hand Clapping’. Acoustic Traces of the Material and the Immaterial in a Zen Temple. University of St Andrew's Social Anthropology Department website
With K Hiramatsu (forthcoming 2010) ‘Sounding Out Indigenous Identities in Okinawa Japan’. In Anthropology and Indigenous Studies: Learning from a Long encounter. ed J Hendry & L Fitznor. Berghahn Press.
Attali, J. 1987. Noise, The Political Economy of Music. University of Minnesota Press.
Bull, M ed. 2003. The Auditory Culture Reader. Berg Press.
Prendergast, M. 2000. The Ambient Century. Bloomsbury.
Murray Schafer, R.1977. The Tuning of the World. McLelland and Stewart.
Veit Erlmann (ed.), 2004. Hearing Cultures: Essays on Sound, Listening and Modernity. Berg Press
Steven Feld, Sound and Sentiment: Birds, Weeping, Poetics, and Song in Kaluli Expression. (2nd edition) U Pennsylvania Press
Mark M. Smith (ed.), 2004. Hearing History. University Georgia Press
Timothy D. Taylor, 2001. Strange Sounds: Music, Technology, and Culture. Routledge Press
‘The Conversation’, ‘Listen to Britain’, ‘The Touch of Sound’
2. http://www.filmsound.org/, See Link ‘Sound in Context’ in Sound Links
4 . http://acousticecology.org/
5 . http://www.quietamerican.org/links.html
6 . http://chriswatson.net/
7 . http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/soundanth/programme.php
8 . http://www.voxlox.net/
9 . http://www.cardiffmiller.com/