Drawing on examples from Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, the authors discuss some aspects of sound in relation to their ethnographic context. Sound examples are also found on the book’s companion website. Varied approaches to understanding sound are offered, but in some way, each of them relates to hierarchy and power. All show the importance of sound for understanding the processual implementation of hierarchy (or its opposite) in the construction of the social environment and the role of sound in the efficacious engagement of power in a variety of religious and political form.
This is a much-needed volume, long overdue, not only offers non-Western perspectives to a field that is firmly Eurocentric; it also goes beyond examining sound in isolation, and instead considering sound in relation to the other senses and to sociocultural constructions.