Audiovisual Media and Identity Issues in Southeastern Europe
Editor: Eckehard Pistrick, Nicola Scaldaferri and Gretel Schwörer
Date Of Publication: Jun 2011
The edited volume Audiovisual Media and Identity Issues in Southeastern Europe is an attempt to meet the challenges of text-based scholarship, to break medial one-dimensionality dictated by textuality and to shift the focus to the aural and visual dimensions of identity in a part of Europe heavily marked by the dynamics of political, cultural and social change, particularly during the last decades. The objective of this endeavour is to examine identity in Southeastern Europe by means of its communication media, specifically that of the photographic image and the sound recording.
How are identities communicated? How are they performed and made physically perceptible? Brought to a point, the primary issue is one of how people perceive themselves and their environment on the basis of communication media, seen through a lens of different disciplines (social anthropology, ethnomusicology, media studies, sociology and history) and methodologies from the point of view of scholars from Southeastern Europe and their Western European colleagues. The book pursues a distinct comparative and historical perspective, examining the media representations from socialist and pre-socialist periods in relation to the role media play in the postsocialist discourse. Another focus is laid on local media representations and their impact on local self-images. This distinct historical and local approach allows new insights into how identities are constructed, performed and negotiated in the light of media, resulting in different forms of interpreting, re-appropriating and re-evaluting the past and traditions. This opens up questions on the role of media in relation to cultural policies and their potential to preserve or to transform local cultural heritage.
The book is also an important contribution to the field of postsocialist studies in anthropology. It sheds a distinct cultural view on postsocialist transformation processes. Through a wide range of examples and first-hand results of basic field research from Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Albania and Slovenia this volume provides an opportunity for a comparative reconsideration of similar phenomena across national borders. It may serve also as a methodological reference work for scholars who are interested in the different ways of how to develop and practice “media reflexivity” in their own field research.
Eckehard Pistrick currently teaches Ethnomusicology at the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany, with focus on Southeastern Europe. He has co-directed a research project at the same institution on “Aural and Visual Representations of Albanian Identity” and is currently completing his PhD at the Universities of Halle and Paris-Ouest-Nanterre. He is member of the Centre de Recherche en Ethnomusicologie (CREM).
Nicola Scaldaferri is Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Milan, Italy. He is also the founder and director of the LEAV – Ethnomusicology and Visual Anthropology Laboratory at the same institution. His research focuses on the music of Southeastern Europe and Southern Italy, as well as on Electroacoustic music. Since 1999 he has conducted extensive research on epic singing traditions and on the Milman Parry Collection at Harvard University. Major publications include Musica arbëreshe in Basilicata (Adriatica, 1994), Musica nel laboratorio elettroacustico (Lim, 1997), Nel paese dei cupa cupa (with Stefano Vaja, Squilibri, 2006) and the collaboration for the documentary Vjesh/Song (2007), realized by Rossella Schillaci.
Gretel Schwörer is Professor of Ethnomusicology at the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany. Specialist in the musical traditions of Southeast Asia, her most recent research focuses on media and the multiple dimensions of sound. Another important aspect of her research relates to copyright issues for traditional music.
“What I find so valuable about the volume . . . is its realization in and of a four-part harmony. It is a harmony of theory and ethnography, of media criticism and media practice.”
—Steven Feld, University of New Mexico