Podcasting as Liminal Praxis: Aural Mediation, Sound Writing and Identity

Dario Llinares

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


You realise a world in which the principle mode of communication is oral is a very different kind of world in which the principle form of communication is written. It’s something I hadn’t thought about until I did a podcast – Malcolm Gladwell The above quote from Malcolm Gladwell (Longform, 3 August 2016), about the writer’s first venture into podcasting – a series entitled Revisionist History – encapsulates a philosophical interrogation and self-examination that emerges from working within a, still relatively novel, sound medium. Gladwell is one of an increasing number of professionals, creatives, and academics, coming from every field imaginable, who have turned their hand to podcasting as an adjunct, subsidiary or development of their primary area of expertise or field of practice. He ruminates on how podcasting opened up questions concerning how the form of communication is inherent to the production of knowledge therein. Podcasting seems to engender a reflexive practice, inspiring interrogation of one’s self-conception and agency as a mediated subject. This seemingly inherent propensity for critical interrogation and self-reflection through the very processes of podcasting is a phenomenon that I have experienced in my own production of the film podcast -The Cinematologists. I have come to be increasing cognisant of how the praxis of podcasting derives from what might be termed a liminal ontology: media practice that is born of, and necessarily operates through, an inter-state of technological, creative, disciplinary, generic and even philosophical positions. And this, in turn, provokes a re-articulation of ones’ identity as a mediated subject. Podcasting has shone a light on the very concept of performing as a mediated identity. Thinking about the complexities and subtleties of constructing one’s self aurally, podcasting both imbues both a sense of autonomy, but simultaneously creates a willful self-examination of one's mediated subjectivity. The chapter is an exploratory analysis of the praxis of podcasting. Drawing upon the self-reflexive discourse of podcasters who have come to this sound medium from other disciplines – using interviews on published podcasts and my own recorded interviews – I interrogate the experiences and conceptualisations of the sound medium related to communication, knowledge and identity. Beginning with a contextualisation of podcasting liminality, this chapter sets out the interrelationship technological, industrial and cultural parameters which have facilitated new forms of sound mediation praxis. Subsequently, I open up a philosophical discussion around the relationship between written and sound communication, positing podcasting's potential to disrupt the logocentrism of knowledge production. This leads on to an exploration of how podcasters use the praxis of podcasting to redefine notions of the mediated self by amalgamating a range of identity positions. I argue that the practice of podcasting thus offers freedoms from disciplinary regimes and traditions, and from sanctioned modes of communication and knowledge production. Furthermore, and almost counter-intuitively, podcasting also seems to provide a mechanism by which producers and consumers anchor themselves, defining an autonomous self within the highly fractured subjectivity of the internet age.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPodcasting: New Aural Cultures and Digital Media
EditorsDario Llinares, N. Fox, R. Berry
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Print)9783319900568
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

Dario Llinares, The Liminal Praxis of Podcasting: Aural Mediation, Sound Writing and Identity, 2018, Palgrave Macmillan, reproduced with permission of Palgrave Macmillan. This extract is taken from the author's original manuscript and has not been edited. The definitive, published, version of record is available here: https://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9783319900551


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