The Emergence of Voices in an Indian Bus Stand: An Ethnographic and Acoustic Approach

by Christine Guillebaud.

The Bloomsbury Handbook of Sonic Methodologies edited by Michael Bull & Marcel Cobussen, New York/London, Bloomsbury Press (2020), [Chapter 40], p. 633-645.

Extract : (...) The present chapter focuses on an Indian bus station, considering it as a relatively autonomous milieu. By milieu, I mean a composite world made up of sounds produced, perceived, and listened to either intentionally or coincidentally. This simple definition, centred on the idea of experienced ‘sound worlds’, is inscribed in a wider anthropological undertaking. Indeed, I consider the bus station as a site for everyday public interactions, which involve different procedures for sound perception as well as singular ways to manage the crowd. I have previously described the sonic organization of the Saktan Tampuran Bus Stand located north of Thrissur, a city of the southern Indian state of Kerala (Guillebaud 2017). This new chapter combines ethnographic observation methods with acoustic analysis (sonograms) to study sound in specific locations. Stations offer high human and sonic density. The ethnography that follows will first present the triangle sound-perception-action, which regulates daily flows. Acoustic analysis will then demonstrate the acoustic signatures of prominent voices based on configuration types that have been observed in situ (...)

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