Accepted Paper:

Sounds and soundness in ethnography  

Author:

Francesco Spagna (Università di Padova)

Paper short abstract:

The contrast between different tones of the speech along with the emotional flow in the voice of the narrator, can lead to the point: to find the thread that connect interviews and knit the anthropological discourse. Listening – as well as observation – foster the soundness of ethnographic research.

Paper long abstract:

What makes anthropologically relevant the emotional tone in the voice of the narrator - beyond the quality of sound - is mainly its difficult, if not impossible, transcription. A challenge arises to the ethnographer transcribing from a recording: the one who has been alongside the narrator is aware that a particular tone in the voice "gets the point", brings into contact with an important meaning core of the research.

A brief excerpt from an interview taken with the wife of an elderly miner in a village of the Dolomites, North East Italy, will be presented for listening: as the interview is coming to the end, the voice of the narrator breaks, to sign the impossibility to talk over the flow of emotions that reminescence has brought up. While - during reminescence - the voice was round, dense of affection, nostalgic. The contrast between these different tones of the speech leads to the point (a denied memory and ambivalence): to find the thread that connect this interview with others and knit the anthropological discourse.

Listening - as well as observation - foster the soundness of ethnographic research.

Panel MB-SAR01
Aural anthropology