Northampton Electronic Collection of Theses and Research

Film sound and the negotiation of moral boundaries

Nardi, C. (2012) Film sound and the negotiation of moral boundaries. Paper presented to: 22nd European Conference on South Asian Studies (ECSAS 2012), University Institute of Lisbon, Portugal, 25-28 July 2012. (Unpublished)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Abstract: Durkheim understood deviance as a normal, rather than pathological trait of sociality: a manageable amount of transgression serves to remind us of society's moral boundaries. Society, however, is in constant change so that when the level of crimes and misconducts jeopardises the boundary-maintenance function of deviance, either these behaviours will be normalised (society defines deviancy down, Moynihan 1993) or morality will start to sanction behaviours formerly accepted (society defines deviancy up, Krauthammer 1993). Popular cinema often reflects a concern for moral boundaries, narrativising situations of deviance and simulating either their sanctioning or their acceptance. Indian popular films, in particular, thematise deviance rather explicitly through stereotyped characters like drunkards, 'nautch' girls (cabaret dancers) or moneylenders. Music and background sound contribute to this thematisation, while offering parallel ambivalent readings of the behaviours represented. This paper is aimed at analysing the role of music and sound in negotiating symbolic representations of deviance and, through this, of moral boundaries: does music play an antagonist role as compared to the more explicit narrative stereotypes of deviancy? Or does it comply with these representations (Tagg 1989)? What is the effect of the mediation of music and sound in regard to identification processes (Kassabian 2001)? It goes without saying that such task requires a rigorous consideration of the particular historical, political and cultural conditions in which a film has been produced, distributed and consumed
Uncontrolled Keywords: Film music, film sound, Bollywood, deviance, moral boundaries
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature on music > ML2075 Motion picture music
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion pictures > PN1995.7 Sound in motion pictures
Creators: Nardi, Carlo
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Faculty of Arts, Science & Technology
Date: 27 July 2012
Date Type: Presentation
Event Title: 22nd European Conference on South Asian Studies (ECSAS 2012)
Event Dates: 25-28 July 2012
Event Location: University Institute of Lisbon, Portugal
Event Type: Conference
Language: English
Status: Unpublished
Related URLs:
References: Kassabian, Anahid (2002) Hearing Film. Tracking Identifications in Contemporary Hollywood Film Music. New York and London: Routledge. Krauthammer, Charles (1993) “Defining Deviancy Up”. Bradley Lecture, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, Washington D.C., 13 September 1993. Moynihan, Daniel Patrick (1993) “Defining Deviancy Down”. American Scholar, Vol. 62, No. 1 (Winter), pp. 17-30. Tagg, Philip (1989) “An Anthropology of Stereotypes in TV Music?”. Svensk tidskrift för musikvetenskap, Göteborg, 1989, pp.19-42.

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