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Radio FieldsAnthropology and Wireless Sound in the 21st Century$
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Lucas Bessire and Daniel Fisher

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814771679

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814771679.001.0001

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From the Studio to the Street

From the Studio to the Street

Producing the Voice in Indigenous Australia

(p.69) 3 From the Studio to the Street
Radio Fields

Daniel Fisher

NYU Press

This chapter explores how Aboriginal radio producers at FM stations in urban Australia negotiate tensions between their understandings of the voice as a technologically malleable site of expressive practice and as the foundation of indigenous identity and political agency. Aboriginal Australians have been producing radio and building radio stations for just over thirty years. Today many Aboriginal radio stations foster collective reflection on the voice as both social and technical facts, amenable to extensive expressive manipulation, governmental development, and intra-Aboriginal reflection. This chapter examines how the politics and significance of vocal sound emerged from the streets of Brisbane as much as from the studio. It considers how the techniques of radio and its globally mobile musical content make the sounds of Aboriginal voices provocative and problematic. It frames radio as a site of cultural production to show how indigenous radio stations figure as institutions that enable insight into the emergence of a local “voice consciousness.” Finally, it discusses the ethnography of voice mediation.

Keywords:   voice, Australia, indigenous identity, Aboriginal Australians, Aboriginal radio stations, radio, cultural production, voice consciousness, ethnography, voice mediation

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