Commoning in Sonic Ethnography (or, the Sound of Ethnography to Come)
When considering an ethnography commons, it seems that there are at least two sorts of boundaries that commoning has the potential to reconfigure: 1) boundaries within the academy between disciplines and 2) boundaries between the academy and ‘the rest of the world.’ Admittedly, these boundaries are often constructed (or imagined) from within the academy itself, and seeking ways to re-draw them may result in yet another navel-gazing exercise that reaffirms particular modes of knowledge production disproportionally beneficial to those ‘in’ the academy. In this essay, I focus on ethnography grounded in sound and how it both productively traverses disciplinary boundaries and usefully brings into relief the unevenness of commoning. I examine a number of discourses in ethnomusicology dealing with sonic epistemologies and interaction, music making as ethnographic method, and intellectual property, all the while grappling with my own work as an ethnographer involved in the production of collaborative sonic texts.
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