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Accepted Paper:

Collective Voices of (Self)Care and Solidarity: Singing activism in South-Eastern Europe  

Author:

Ana Hofman (Research Centre of Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores whether, when and how affective potential of collective singing can contribute to practices of (self)care that oppose bodily and mental exhaustion, and structural feelings of social disintegration and exhaustion.

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores whether, when and how affective potential of collective singing can contribute to practices of (self)care that oppose bodily and mental exhaustion, and structural feelings of social disintegration and exhaustion. I focus on the activist choirs across the region of the South-Eastern Europe, self-characterized as participation-oriented decentralized collectives that employ collective singing as a way of social engagement. I demonstrate how, as a way of investing time in politicized leisure activities, collective singing offers a critical response to the current absence of systemic and structural care for human existence in the region. Understanding care beyond simply a practice of "help" or support but rather as complex sonic co-existences, I examine a wide range of collective sonic interventions into social space including care of body and wellbeing in a time of economic precarity, support for basic conditions and infrastructures of being alive, to the creation of new avenues of political action in political atmospheres structured affectively by apathy, exhaustion, and foreclosure.

I ask the following questions: How do the affective qualities of collective singing and sonic environments offer a critical response to absences of structural care? How do they help people resolve to live, persist, and resist precariousness and uncertainty? How do they enable affective mobilizations for developing strategies of (self-)care and new forms of agency?

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