Song and the Presence of Absent Communities | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1757-1936
  • E-ISSN: 1757-1944


This essay is in two parts the first an academic argument, the second a loosely woven presentation of song lyric fragments and images that parallels concerns expressed in the first. The aim is to indicate why certain types of old, quasipagan songs might help a particular section of the population develop another sense of place and community. Using a distinction between metropolitan locals and the commitment of certain artists to an ethical identification with necessary limits inherent in community as understood by local cosmopolitans, I argue from greater attention to collective, communal, and social practices typified here by walking and song that are rooted in the lived realities and shared needs of ordinary people. I do so in the context of Edward S. Casey's claim that place, despite our assumption that it is a static entity, is best understood as an essay in experimental living within a changing culture. Declining to side either with phenomenologically-inclined promoters of enchantment or post-structural advocates of the primacy of absence, I seek to validate a particular and endless oscillation between these positions an oscillation I find performed in exemplary fashion by certain songs in their capacity to simultaneously enchant and to remember absence in the context of the animistic values of a now absent indigenous community.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): absence; community; enchantment; place; song; walking
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