Annotations

This page serves as a growing list of annotations for concepts that I find critical to my studies. Each will include a brief description and an accompanying source citation. As the list grows and intersects with posts, entries will be tagged and cross-referenced.

Schizophonic Mimesis, Steven Feld (Ethnomusicologist)
Feld, Steven. “Pygmy POP: A Genealogy of Schizophonic Mimesis.” Yearbook for Traditional Music 28 (1996): 1-35.

Ethnomusicologist Steven Feld traces a particular genealogy of musical examples that stems from the music of the BaBenzélé pygmies and ends with Madonna, helping contextualize a broader issue of cultural “exchange.” Feld focuses on the powerful asymmetries that arise when borrowing across two vastly different cultures and socio-economic domains (i.e. between first- and third-world). Central to Feld’s argument is the concept of schizophonic mimesis, which describes how the recording and distributing process of the music industry renegotiates identity through mimetic copies. To Feld, this is seen in “how sound recordings, split from their sources through the chain of audio production, circulation, and consumption stimulate and license renegotiations of identity. The recordings of course retain a certain indexical relationship to the place and people they both contain and circulate. At the same time their material and commodity conditions create new possibilities whereby a place and people can be recontextualized, rematerialized, and thus thoroughly reinvented” (13).

Acoustemology, Steven Feld (Ethnomusicologist)
Steven Feld, “Waterfalls of Song: An Acoustemology of Place Resounding in Bosavi, Papua New Guinea,” in Senses of Place, eds. Steven Feld and Keith H. Basso (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1996), 91.

Quite simply, an acoustic epistemology (or “acoustemology”) has it that “cultures establish their identities not only through things seen but through things heard and said.” (91)

Everyday forms of Resistance, James C. Scott (Religion Scholar)
Scott, James C. Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985.

James C. Scott’s book traces the kinds of resistance activity maintained by marginalized and oppressed groups in Latin America. In particular, we see his work focusing on groups of women laborers whose confinement and social position have not given them the means of violent outright protest. Scott’s thesis is that, when open resistance is very risky and you don’t have access to the means of changing your situation, we should not assume that there can be no resistance––overlooking instead the petty and quotidian means of subtle subversion that equate to a means of resistance. Foot-dragging (not being productive), petty pilfering, etc.

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