Listen to the band! How sound can realize group identity and enact intergroup domination

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Shayegh, J ; Drury, J ; Stevenson, C (2017)

Recent research suggests that sound appraisal can be moderated by social identity. We validate this finding, and also extend it, by examining the extent to which sound can also be understood as instrumental in intergroup relations. We interviewed nine members of a Catholic enclave in predominantly Protestant East Belfast about their experiences of an outgroup (Orange Order) parade, where intrusive sound was a feature. Participants reported experiencing the sounds as a manifestation of the Orange Order identity and said that it made them feel threatened and anxious because they felt it was targeted at them by the outgroup (e.g., through aggressive volume increases). There was also evidence that the sounds produced community disempowerment, which interviewees explicitly linked to the invasiveness of the music. Some interviewees described organising to collectively ‘drown out’ the bands’ sounds, an activity which appeared to be uplifting. These findings develop the elaborated social identity model of empowerment, by showing that intergroup struggle and collective self-objectification can operate through sound as well as through physical actions.
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