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Isles of NoiseSonic Media in the Caribbean$
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Alejandra Bronfman

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469628691

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469628691.001.0001

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(p.66) 4 Resistors
Isles of Noise

Alejandra Bronfman

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter relies on Anna Tsing’s suggestion that global phenomena are underwritten by the “sticky materiality of practical encounters” to refer both to the increased presence of wires, cables and electronic material in the environment and ways those materials animated certain repertoires of political action. The public spheres in urban settings such as those in 1930s Port au Prince and Santiago were fundamentally shaped by this dynamic. In Santiago, Cuba, rebels regularly cut wires or sabotaged transmitters, but they also seized radio stations as a first step in political activism. In Port au Prince, anti-imperialists criticized the proliferation of public loudspeakers while local businessmen built radio stations in order to wield influence. As the power of telegraphs, telephones and wireless became increasingly evident, historical actors from all sides of the ideological spectrum came to comprehend electronically transmitted sound as the idiom through which politics could be conducted.

Keywords:   Telegraph, Telephone, Radio, Santiago, Cuba, Port au Prince, Loudspeakers, Anti-imperialism

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