'Unleashing the beast': Emergent resistance in White charity

Kahina Meziant*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This chapter analyses the capacity of sound to constitute resistance in itself. To illustrate that, I discuss my ongoing work with a musical community-led project with asylum seekers and refugees in the North East of England. The transgressive quality of space and sound has been the focus of interest in human geography since the early 1990s. More specifically, what sounds and music do lie at the centre of most debates, including those in geographies of resistance, race and multiculture, queer and feminist theory. The affective yet uneven power of sound (and music) in the realm of the political predates its conceptualisation. In some places, when sounds are disrupting standards of normative behaviours, repression follows, while in others, music and sounds are tools of governance to (b)order, foreground identities and sense of belonging. Sound, however, is also diffuse and can therefore challenge binaries of self/other, here/there, human/non-human through its capacity to reconfigure relations, spaces and objects. This chapter draws attention to the ways in which markers of identity, belonging, emotions, and solidarities are played out through sounds and music. Aligning with more recent scholarship on sonic citizenship and aurality, this chapter argues that sound contains in itself a potential for resistance or possibly even constitutes resistance in itself. Through an empirical account of this ongoing project, I illustrate how asylum seekers ‘(re)sound themselves’, through music making and singing in a variety of languages. Besides, I address the tension between the risk and the importance of resisting popular markers of difference and illegality. Finally, this chapter discusses the implications and the value of making visible untranslatable migration narratives as well as listening beyond language.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCritical Geographies of Resistance
EditorsSarah M. Hughes
Place of PublicationCheltenham, UK
PublisherEdward Elgar
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781800882881
ISBN (Print)9781800882874
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2023

Publication series

NameGeography, Planning and Tourism 2023
PublisherEdward Elgar

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