Rethinking Public and Private in an Acoustic Community: Investigation of Contemporary Russian Village

Elena Bogdanova

Abstract


This article is an attempt to apply the concept of the soundscape to studying the division between public and private spheres in the contemporary Russian countryside. The empirical basis of the study consists of a series of ethnographic observations made overthe course of 15 years in a single village in the Northwestern region of Russia. The analysis of sound production and perception by the local populace shows the village to bean acoustic community, where in background sounds serve as carriers of socially meaningful information. The study finds that the prominent functionality of the village’s acoustic environment as a means of communication blurs the line between public and private, reducing privacy while simultaneously curtailing publicity. Depending on the situation, the same space may be either private or public. To help differentiate between the public and the private, the acoustic community of this Russian village prescribes specific conventions, shared by the local residents. In Russian, extended summary in English.

Keywords


Acoustic Community; Contemporary Russian Villages; Soundscapes; Public and Private; Ethnography

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