This article draws together communications and media studies with feminist theory and refugee scholarship to closely consider Vietnamese-American subject and community formations from the reference point of sound and audition. Specifically, it examines the ways in which institutionalized regimes of listening are configurations of power, the effects of which subtly but powerfully impact Vietnamese Americans' ordinary lives. Such regimes of listening operate as technologies that regulate subjects' quotidian modes of conduct and in so doing work to reproduce recognizable forms of ethnic, refugee, and national subjectivities and communities as well as the hegemonic discourses that underwrite them. This essay urges an epistemological shift from the site/sight-specific approaches to race, ethnicity, and nationalism that typically dominate ethnic studies, area studies, anthropology, and refugee studies to sonorous approaches that take into account the subtle and ephemeral configurations and effects of power that constitute this ethno-national community and its subjects. The production and management of national subjectivity, as this article shows, is routinely and often-times unspectacularly undertaken in sites that are ethnically and temporally local.
Minh-Ha T. Pham; Listening as a Labor of Love: Commerce, Community, and Little Saigon Radio. positions 1 November 2013; 21 (4): 987–1018. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10679847-2346068
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