Project

The anthropology of kidnap radio in Colombia

Goal: Analyse the effect of one-way radio messages sent to hostages of the FARC kept in the jungle.

Funded by the British Academy

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Project log

Stephen Pax Leonard
added a research item
en Some hostages of the FARC held in the Colombian Amazon spoke of how they believed a certain radio voice could result in an action. For over 20 years, every Saturday night a radio programme broadcast messages from the hostages’ families and loved ones. A small number of these captives recycled the prophetic radio voice in a dialogic interaction with prayer in their inner speech, and this resulted in what they believed to be the voice of God. By assigning them new identities, the hostages were through a process of performative listening ‘doing things’ with voices in the Austinian sense. This article takes Austin’s work in a new direction by exploring the primary performative function of voice. By analysing localised ideologies of voice through the complex discourse of prisoners’ reflexive self‐analyses, it adds the dimension of vocality to speech act theory. Research with Colombian hostages shows that inner voice can be used to invoke linguistic representations of God in the absence of any tuition. Faire des choses avec la voix: la ‘radio kidnappée’ colombienne et le son de Dieu fr Certains otages détenus par les FARC en Amazonie colombienne ont raconté leur croyance qu’une voix radiophonique pouvait déboucher sur une action. Pendant plus de vingt ans, chaque samedi soir, une émission de radio diffusait des messages des proches des otages. Dans leur discours intérieur, quelques‐uns de ces prisonniers réutilisaient les voix prophétiques de la radio pour créer une interaction dialogique mêlée à de la prière, donnant naissance ainsi à ce qu’ils pensaient être la voix de Dieu. En attribuant à ces voix de nouvelles identités, les otages ont suivi un processus d'écoute performatif et, au sens austinien, « ont fait des choses avec des voix ». Cet article examine la fonction performative primaire de la voix, et élargit ainsi les travaux d'Austin. Par l’analyse des idéologies localisées de la voix, à travers le discours complexe des auto‐analyses réflexives des prisonniers, il ajoute la dimension de la vocalité à la théorie des actes de langage. Les recherches menées auprès d'otages colombiens montrent que la voix intérieure peut conjurer des représentations linguistiques de Dieu en l’absence de tout enseignement.
Stephen Pax Leonard
added a research item
What was the impact of one-way radio messages aimed at hostages kidnapped by the FARC and held captive in the Colombian jungle? Messages were read out on air every Saturday night (reception in the Colombian jungle is best between 01:00am and 04:00am) for 22 years. Here, radio animated emotional registers of lived experience as one-way radio messages intensified novel forms of imagination for both speaker, hearer and the ‘community’ of other hearers, in this case thousands of hostages dotted around the jungle. This article examines the linguistic instrumentality of the radio voice. The research is based on interviews with all parties (released hostages, defected guerrillas and relatives of hostages). By analysing the Voces del Secuestro messages, it is shown how a phenomenological listening of the radio voice gave hope in times of anguish.
Stephen Pax Leonard
added a project goal
Analyse the effect of one-way radio messages sent to hostages of the FARC kept in the jungle.
Funded by the British Academy