This book explores the social reach and nature of radio, the most widespread electronic medium in the world today, from an anthropological perspective. More specifically, it considers what is at stake in radio's practical entanglement with people's lives. It also analyzes the ways that radio can be employed as a tool to study the concepts, methods, and praxis of contemporary anthropology as well as the suitability of ethnography in understanding radio's ability to inflect and transform social life in concrete ways. The book uses the concept of “radio fields” to elucidate the complex intersection of radio technology and social relations. This introductory chapter discusses the unique relationship between radio and anthropology, other disciplinary approaches to the study of radio, the emergence of radio studies as a field, how radio's relationship to place is addressed in cultural studies and in art, and sociolinguistic approaches to radio speech. It also provides an overview of the following chapters in this book.
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