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Dispositives of Sound: Folk Music Collections, Radio, and the National Imagination, 1890s-1960s


Müske, Johannes (2018). Dispositives of Sound: Folk Music Collections, Radio, and the National Imagination, 1890s-1960s. In: Michelsen, Morten; Krogh, Mads; Nielsen, Steen Kaargaard; Have, Iben. Music Radio : Building Communities, Mediating Genres. New York: Bloomsbury, 163-188.

Abstract

This chapter investigates sound archives as dispositives of politics of national identity through sound, and the role that sound archives play in such contexts – like monuments, among other things, ethnographic and radio collections of folk music are powerful resources for the promotion of national discourse: collecting is ‘a crucial process of Western identity formation’ (Clifford 1988, 220). Two case studies examine folk music collections that were gathered by ethnographers and by the radio. Based on Foucauldian theory, this chapter scrutinizes the material fixation of culture by means of technology as a conditio sine qua non of the formation of ethnographic knowledge about culture and cultural politics of identity. In particular, the intertwining of folklore studies and the radio in the construction of national musical styles will be examined. Sound collections in their institutional contexts are elements of a dispositive which governs what sounds become elements of a national discourse by being silenced or highlighted, for example, by being disseminated via radio. I will first give a brief sketch of the concepts of the archive and the dispositive used as a theoretical framework for my analysis. Second, I will take a closer look at ethnographic sound collections founded in around 1900 by folklorists and anthropologists,3 among others,4 and will give emphasis to the institutions and spirit in which the wax cylinders and other recordings were gathered – as these collections are one important, ‘scientifically approved’ foundation for the emergence of national styles of traditional music. Third, I will focus on the processes of valorizing folk music collections as a resource of national identity through amplification via the radio. Fourth, and continuing with Foucauldian theory, it will be asked whether ethnographic and radio archives can be seen as dispositives that react to certain urgencies. The research is based on archival and ethnographic studies on heritage and cultural policy in the realm of audiovisual and ethnographic archives.

Abstract

This chapter investigates sound archives as dispositives of politics of national identity through sound, and the role that sound archives play in such contexts – like monuments, among other things, ethnographic and radio collections of folk music are powerful resources for the promotion of national discourse: collecting is ‘a crucial process of Western identity formation’ (Clifford 1988, 220). Two case studies examine folk music collections that were gathered by ethnographers and by the radio. Based on Foucauldian theory, this chapter scrutinizes the material fixation of culture by means of technology as a conditio sine qua non of the formation of ethnographic knowledge about culture and cultural politics of identity. In particular, the intertwining of folklore studies and the radio in the construction of national musical styles will be examined. Sound collections in their institutional contexts are elements of a dispositive which governs what sounds become elements of a national discourse by being silenced or highlighted, for example, by being disseminated via radio. I will first give a brief sketch of the concepts of the archive and the dispositive used as a theoretical framework for my analysis. Second, I will take a closer look at ethnographic sound collections founded in around 1900 by folklorists and anthropologists,3 among others,4 and will give emphasis to the institutions and spirit in which the wax cylinders and other recordings were gathered – as these collections are one important, ‘scientifically approved’ foundation for the emergence of national styles of traditional music. Third, I will focus on the processes of valorizing folk music collections as a resource of national identity through amplification via the radio. Fourth, and continuing with Foucauldian theory, it will be asked whether ethnographic and radio archives can be seen as dispositives that react to certain urgencies. The research is based on archival and ethnographic studies on heritage and cultural policy in the realm of audiovisual and ethnographic archives.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:790 Sports, games & entertainment
390 Customs, etiquette & folklore
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Uncontrolled Keywords:radio, archives, dispositive, discourse, folk music, folklore, folklore studies
Language:English
Date:2018
Deposited On:20 Dec 2018 07:13
Last Modified:24 Sep 2019 23:57
Publisher:Bloomsbury
ISBN:978-1-5013-4321-6
OA Status:Closed
Related URLs:https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/music-radio-9781501343230/ (Publisher)
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDCRSII1_141800
  • : Project TitleMusikalische Praktiken, institutionelle Kontexte, und Rezeption von 'Volksmusik'. Zur klingenden Konstruktion von Swissness im Rundfunk
  • : FunderDeutsches Museum
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • : FunderIRF Denmark
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title

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