Feld's Theory Of Acoustemology

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I want to investigate how using Steven Feld’s theory of acoustemology can enable the development of a fieldwork project that focuses on how and why women occupy female toilets in clubs, and if we can discern through listening if there is a temporary suspension of order through the performance of particular behaviours that create an intersubjective identity affirmation. I will be exploring how listening can open up an understanding of the inclusive ‘five-minute communities’ that are built within the liminal space of female toilets (McClarence 2015). Feld, in The Rainforest Acoustemology explores the highly sophisticated and complex connections that symbolise the Kaluli’s relationship with their rainforest habitus. I suggest that by listening…show more content…
Skeggs proposes that toilets can be “spaces of contestation between women, androgynous or masculine women and transgendered people, as well as between male-to-female transsexual women and non-trans women; and between working-class and middle-class women” (Skeggs 2001: 297). Notwithstanding this, I have decided to narrow the scope of this project down to focus on female toilets in independent Sheffield nightclubs. An understanding of the moral implications that female-only spaces may have on people who don’t assign to their birth gender is essential; thus, this essay aims to be exemplar of inclusionary spaces for a wider and more fluid gender encapsulation. Therefore, I propose that this essay isn’t an attempt at de-gendering toilets or campaigning for queer or gender activism but a celebration of the impact that liminal spaces can achieve by transgressing and transcending external moral and social boundaries. Furthermore, I suggest that these spaces are also found in queer and non-binary club spaces, and likewise in purpose-built safe-spaces; but the proposal of this project is to focus on female toilets as it is reflective of my own positionality and subjectivity of my lived experiences. I, as a woman, researcher and prospective sonic-flaneur, can hear myself…show more content…
A complimentary comment on another woman’s outfit can be detected as an invitation into a bond. ‘Hearing together’ is a way to ‘build social relationships’ as they develop into a medium that is sonically produced (Blesser, Salter 2009: 4). Feld suggests that sensing and knowing can be obtained through sounding and listening; no space is understood without perceiving a cultural framework, and for women their cultural framework can encapsulate experiences of being a woman (Feld 2015: 14). Bonds can be created through topics of the body such as menstrual cycles, sexual relations, women’s global issues, amongst topics of every other kind. A relationship may be built through a related understanding of the cultural constraints that they may grapple with due to forms of marginalization. Blesser further suggests that the acoustics of a space ‘can manifest into feeling and emotions of comfortability’ (Blesser, Salter 2009: 2). Expressive forms of announcing women’s identities within the toilet are constructed inside these fleeting communities through ritualised forms of communication. Sound and voice can provoke human sentiment to a higher level than its visual component (Bendix 2000: 35). Listening as opposed to any other form can give us another understanding of gendered
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