Laura Kunreuther- Transparent Media

Kunreuther, L. (2010). Transparent Media: Radio, Voice, and Ideologies of Directness in Post democratic Nepal. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 20: 334–351.

334- In this article, I suggest that the ideology of directness is associated with a linguistic ideology that centers on the idea and powers of the voice.

In the first portion of the article, I show the voice to be both a figure and the medium of language. The voice is an index of presence and emotional connection, as well as a medium perceived to be more direct and closely tied to  democratic agency and modernity (Bauman and Briggs 2003; Weidman this volume). In the second portion of the article, I discuss the voice in terms of its material and formal linguistic qualities. The liveness of the FM broadcasts and the frequent use of the phatic function of language in FM programs are what constitute the “direct voice” of many FM programs. I compare the poetics of a direct voice with the features of other common public critiques of the state that make ample use of irony, parody, or pronounced silence to produce their messages. In the final section of the article, I look closely at actual examples of voiced expression in the program SSMK and explore how this direct voice connects more specifically to the ideals of neoliberal personhood and a changing linguistic ideology that underlies development projects like UNICEF.

335- Ideas about direct speech challenge other prevailing Nepali linguistic ideologies, particularly about how to speak about morally contentious subjects or how to speak to authorities, which tend to favor indirection with very little reference to oneself.

336- The ideology of directness is clearly tied to several technological and material features of FM broadcasting, and its association with political liberalization and democracy, which use metaphors of openness, directness, and voice as leitmotifs of their projects.

340- A media ideology in which directness, both in terms of speech and in terms of FM transmission, becomes a highly aspired goal is made possible by the quality of live broadcasts, the more distinct and clearer sounds generated by FM airwaves, and the metadiscourse about language and voice.

342- The specifically neoliberal self- as opposed to a modern self—is considered to be an “entrepreneur of themselves”

344- SSMK models the direct speech they seek to promote in their listeners. Speaking directly is figured as a means of effecting social change.


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