A generation of scholars in multiple disciplines has investigated sound in ways that are productive for anthropologists. We introduce the concept of soundscape as a modality for integrating this work into an anthropological approach. We trace its history as a response to the technological mediations and listening practices emergent in modernity and note its absence in the anthropological literature. We then trace the history of technology that gave rise to anthropological recording practices, film sound techniques, and experimental sound art, noting productive interweavings of these threads. After considering ethnographies that explore relationships between sound, personhood, aesthetics, history, and ideology, we question sound's supposed ephemerality as a reason for the discipline's inattention. We conclude with a call for an anthropology that more seriously engages with its own history as a sounded discipline and moves forward in ways that incorporate the social and cultural sounded world more fully.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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