We live in worlds of sound. Our everyday lives are made up of thousands of actions whereby we learn to muffle, amplify, avoid and live with the promiscuous sounds that surround us. This talk explores these ecologies of sound: what it means to live with them and the machines that make them. It does so by looking at places – Nigeria and Northern Ireland – where the imposition of sound has always been an act of power and often an act of violence, defining religious and ethnic difference. I examine this difference. But I also consider how attending to the mediation of sound might allow us to see forms of borrowing, imitation and mutual interaction that takes place between groups and which refuses narratives of difference and opposition.
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