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A critical first step in denaturalizing the category of voice entails understanding the common and naturalized meanings “voice” has in English, and by extension, in the Euro-Western context. While the sonorous and material aspects of voice typically serve as the constitutive outside when “voice” is invoked in discourses about personal agency, cultural authenticity, and political power, they themselves often remain beyond the reach of critical analysis. This entry gives a brief sense of where these ideas have come from and discusses some critical responses to the binaries that underlie them. It then discusses four ways of understanding the production of voices—through materiality, technological mediation, performance/performativity, and voicing—which can help us to understand the cultural and historical specificity of vocal practices and ideas about voice without relying on familiar assumptions.

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