Listen to the radio talk about the iconic song Bella Ciao made by Ivan Bradin and Radio Rojc from Pula. About the genealogy of the song, its old and new lives and political potentiality talk: musicologist Nusa Hauser, researcher and musician Dario Marušić, ethnomusicologist Ana Hofman and the founder of band “KUD Idijoti” Sale Veruda.
American Musicological Society Annual Meeting, Virtual, 11–12 and 20–21 November 2022
Panel: Feeling Powerful – Sonics, Politics, and Affective Regimes
The physical aspects of music and sound, or “vibrational practice,” in Nina Sun Eidsheim’s terms (2015), rely on physical experience contextualized and eliciting an affective response. By revisiting definitions of “power” (Walser 1993), in which power comes from feelings of controlling sound, this panel suggests how shared physical experience may be differently felt and contextualized in the realms of affect theory (Hofman 2015, Massumi 2016) and sound studies (Cusick 2006, Daughtry 2015, Tausig 2019) with an emphasis on the transformational affective potential of sonic embodiment (Eidsheim 2015, Hofman 2020, Cox 2016).
Each case study investigates the varied ways in which the vibrational-acoustic qualities of voice create types of social engagement that exist on heightened emotive terrain. Across each case study, we link cultural responses to “affective regimes,” defined broadly as the often overlapping and sometimes contradictory logics of capital, technological development, urban space, and governance that inform the sounded dimensions of contemporary social life (Mankekar and Gupta 2016; Navaro 2019). Considering affective regimes as a means of analysis enables us to foreground “the corporeal body whose bodily processes are being reshaped by the logics of capital and technology, in short, not just the laboring body but the feeling body” (Mankekar and Gupta 2016, 38). Imagining a scaffold of affective regimes guided by spatial acoustic and embodied sonic practices, case studies in varied contexts – extremist politics in Metal music; affective curation in professional choral performance; and the use of found acoustics in chant-driven protest – show how sound can overwhelm, subvert, and channel power through controlling emotional guidelines and embodied experience. These papers suggest an expanded definition of “power” that affords new ways to theorize physical experience as connected to political kineticism via physicality and affective drive. Moreover, this scholarship explores the tenuous distinctions between beingpowerful and feeling powerful in consideration of the overlapping and sometimes contradictory logics of capital, technological development, urban space, and governance that inform the sounded dimensions of contemporary social life.
Eugenia Siegel Conte, University of California, Santa Barbara
Max Z. Jack, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Jillian Fischer, University of California, Santa Barbara
Ana Hofman, Research Centre of Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Society for Ethnomusicology, 66th Annual Meeting, Virtual, 28–31 October 2021
Panel Abstract: Complicating “Affective Labor” in Ethnomusicology
Ethnomusicologists, increasingly interested in both affects and forms of musical work, use the term “affective labor” to denote the feelingful dimension of what musicians produce, whether or not they’re paid. Work on “affective” or “immaterial” labor argues that the production of subjectivities, particularly through the consumption of cultural products like music, is key to neoliberal socio-economic organization, where wages are gained through affective performance. This panel offers a productive critique of “affective labor” and the concepts it rests upon. Specifically, in setting affective labor as a unique form of work, the term suggests a division between labor that involves thought and feeling, and labor that involves “only” bodies, reproducing problematic conceptions of culture as “immaterial.” Moreover, the term muddies the ability to discuss the relation between acts which produce feelings as part of social meaning, and those which (also) produce profit. Each of these papers addresses the relations between affect, labor, and wage. The first examines musical and personal narratives about Punjabi truck drivers’ work ethics and disaffection, which reveal how patterns of circulation of material goods determine patterns of affect; the second focuses on musical leisure as a conceptual framework that questions the affective labor paradigm in the post-socialist context; and the third examines Brazilian Spotify contractors whose ability to curate branded playlists arose from their long involvement in unpaid, yet densely affective music production. The total panel, including a discussant, offers what we hope is a critical extension of an exciting new arena of ethnomusicological research.
Participants:Ana Hofman, Research Centre of Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Back to Leisure: Labour, Class and Everyday Singing in a Post-Socialist Town
Davindar Singh, Harvard University
The Drive to Work: Punjabi Truck Songs and the Ethics of “Dis-Affected” Labor
Garland, Shannon, University of California, Merced
The Work of Making Moods: The Concrete Labor of Spotify Curation