Accepted paper:

Engaging the body and the senses: doing ethnography through singing

Authors:

Raphaela von Weichs (Université de Lausanne)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper I propose to examine the practice of singing through ethnography and to practice ethnography through singing. I will examine what happens when the ethnographer uses her body and her voice as a research tool to access the lifeworld of other people.

Paper long abstract:

Singing is one of the fundamental skills humans learn from early age on. It is an embodied experience, albeit culturally divers. Singing practices are shaped by traditions, innovations and historical experiences with music making and cultural performances. They can be learned and practiced, but also unlearned and forgotten. In this paper I propose to examine the practice of singing through ethnography and to practice ethnography through singing. Following Pink's discussions of ethnographic apprenticeship and sensory ethnography, I will reflect on the ethnographic standard methods of observing and participating in relation to learning through instruction. Based on the emipirical study of choir music in Cameroon, I will examine what happens when the ethnographer uses her body and her voice as a research tool to access the lifeworld of other people. I will use three technics for the representation of singing : voice/narration, image/filming and sound/recording to demonstrate that each technic and approach produces different effects of understanding by the researcher and the audience.

panel P134
Doing ethnography through the body