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Sound and socio-aesthetics among the Batek hunter-gatherers of Pahang State, Malaysia

Rudge, AC; (2017) Sound and socio-aesthetics among the Batek hunter-gatherers of Pahang State, Malaysia. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis provides an ethnography of sonic practices among the Batek. Sonic practices are central means by which Batek people create, appreciate, and negotiate relationships with each other, and with the non-human persons of the həp (‘forest’). Practices discussed include storytelling, naming, listening to and mimicry of the forest, musical instrument playing, speaking, singing, and laughing. These are related to visual practices, such as weaving and carving, as well as to social life more broadly. This thesis therefore illustrates how Batek aesthetics are both social and oral or visible; connecting diverse practices by drawing on Batek discourses surrounding things that are btʔɛt (‘good, beautiful’), and that cause the emotion of haʔip (‘to feel longing, yearning, nostalgia, love, desire, absence’). Language and ‘musical’ practices are theorised as points on one communicative spectrum, as in Batek, singing, playing instruments, and speaking, are all encompassed by the term klɨŋ (‘sound’). The thesis draws on the ways that Batek people talk about sound, to argue that sounds are not just ephemeral, but can be potent forms of energy. Important ways that the Batek share and transmit their socio-aesthetics are therefore through sonic practices, and the emotional responses they evoke in those that witness or practice them.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Sound and socio-aesthetics among the Batek hunter-gatherers of Pahang State, Malaysia
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Malaysia, Sound, Music, Batek, Hunter-Gatherer, Social Anthropology, Aesthetics, Egalitarianism
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1569182
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