The ethical soundscape by Charles Hirschkind

Jane M M By Jane M M, 5th Aug 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Books>Society, Politics & Philosophy

This is a review of ethical soundscape a well written book by Charles Hirschkind. It focusses on the use of cassettes in delivering sermons by the Egyptian.The information contained in this book is clear and very informative.

The ethical soundscape by Charles Hirschkind

The concept of Islam has travelled transnationally in very diverse ways. One such way is through recorded tapes. Besides, Cassette sermons have played vital roles to the lifestyle and the conduct of the Muslim both in public places and in private spaces. The message they pass across through acts as a guide to their everyday practices. Sermons not only instill religious knowledge but also cultivate the emotions that guide their way of living. Of much interest is their mode of delivery which is so charismatic and appealing that it opens ones heart while at the same time drawing them closer to God. There is no limit as to where the practice of listening can be carried out. It could either be in the private or public space and by both Men and women respectively. The way the message is crafted makes it irresistible to the ears and whether one is tired or bored; they would not resist listening to it.
According to Charles people listening to the sermon don’t care much about the preacher but rather on the quality of spoken language. Just like music, the sermon powerfully influences people’s emotions and so do their body movements. Humans having the advantage of the auditory systems are capable of making sense of sounds they hear. Some of these sounds trigger positive emotions as they conjure up images of pleasant activities. Others might be automatically associated with fear or anxiety; like the fear explained in the text by the taxi driver. It is this fear which compels people to change their ways and live according to Gods will.
In addition cassette sermon listening has indeed created an Islamic counter-public that debates and argues the complexities of ethical traditions as they confront everyday life. The use of cassette as a mode of sermon delivery has received quite a number of criticisms. One of them is the fact the listening requires certain passivity on the part of the subject. Since the listener has no room to express his views, he is turned to a subject of subordination. It’s a fact that the use of tapes has had significant impact to the Muslims as well as convincing the non- Muslim to join in the faith and thus the rapid growth of Islamic religion .This book provides a clear analysis on the Muslim doctrine and clarifies the complex issue of fundamentalism. The book makes a case that scholars grasp of the moral and religious cultivation of the self through sensory experience, this is important to understanding individual’s articulation with the public sphere in contemporary Egypt.
More information about ethical soundscape can be found on


Cassette, Cultures, Egyptian Religion, Moral Values, Morality And Ethics, Morals, Sound Effects

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author avatar Jane M M
My areas of focus include issues facing women, family and friends stories, children experiences, personal life experiences,daily events around the world among others.

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