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Accepted Paper:

The Sounded Politics of Affect: How Greek Environmentalists employ Sound for Socio-Environmental Change  


Elvira Wepfer

Paper short abstract:

Based on ongoing research among Greek environmentalists dedicated to sound therapy for eco-ethical self-transformation, the paper asks how sound is employed as a politics of affect that aims to recreate the ways in which human relate to the natural environment based on care and mutuality.

Paper long abstract:

Today, our planet is experiencing serious climatic changes that have been recognised to stem from a complex aggregation of human activities which cause multi-layered forms of pollution. Noise, or unwanted anthropogenic sound, is increasingly recognised as one such form of pollution. Initiatives that counter human pollution recognise the importance of sound and use it to their own ends, promoting societal transformation based on ecological paradigms that emphasise the impact of sound waves. Enquiring into how sound is employed in eco-activism as a medium for socio-environmental change, this paper uses insights from ongoing fieldwork among an initiative invested in sound therapy as avenue to self-transformation towards ecological ethics. Based on these insights, it asks how sound is deliberately employed as a politics of affect to create a relation of care and an understanding of mutuality between humans and their natural environment. Unlike initiatives for noise reduction, such engagement highlights the beneficial aspects of sound and connects these to eliminating not a symptom of today's multi-layered pollution, but to altering the cause, namely how humans relate to nature. The challenges and perspectives these insights pose to the anthropology of sound are approached and put up for discussion.

Panel P169
Affection of Sounds and Politics in South-Eastern Europe: Challenges and Perspectives