Listening through houses: Changing communities of sounds in Northern Laos
In the uplands of northern Laos, in which bamboo and timber houses prevailed, concrete houses are now on the rise. It will be argued that houses can be used as prisms to illuminate processes of social change. Drawing on experiences of staying in both a timber house and a new concrete one over the course of long-term ethnographic fieldwork among the Khmu, a key experiential difference will be analysed: their different soundscapes. While one can easily listen through the cracks and spaces between timber boards, concrete walls produce a perceivable barrier between inside and outside. It will be argued that the changing materiality of the house and its (sonic) repercussions contribute to shaping a different relationship between the house, its residents, and the village. Finally, it will be argued that when inquiring into the shifting sensory experience of living in concrete houses in a social context in which houses are of central importance yet are not the places where locals spend much of their time, emphasis should not solely be given to the house but to other meaningful locales of sociality.
Anuac is published under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence 4.0. With the licence CC-BY, authors retain the copyright, allowing anyone to download, reuse, re-print, modify, distribute and/or copy their contribution. The work must be properly attributed to its author. It should be also mentioned that the work has been first published by the journal Anuac.
Having published these contributions for the first time, Anuac will have the right to publish them integrally or partially as reprints or possibly as part of a thematic issue, in both digital and printed format.
It is not necessary to ask further permissions both to author or the journal.
Photographs and other images
Photographs and other images marked with the symbol Copyright © cannot be distributed. The readers of the journal or the users of the website can download photographs and other images that are not marked with the above mentioned symbol.