The Sound of Citizenship


This article discusses how the soundscape of citizenship ceremonies is part of the materialization of citizenship in the twenty-first century. In this comparative research on citizenship ceremonies in West European countries, the use of the performative approach has led to a changed focus from the textual discourse and rhetoricof the citizenship ceremonies to what is actually done. In the ceremonies, citizenship is not only enacted in different discourses and versions of bodily practice. It is also materialized in flags, certificates, information folders, pins, medals, food and beverages, and in various soundscapes comprising recitation of oaths, playing children, folk music, and singing of national anthems. These soundscapes are the primary focus of this paper, thus promoting the idea of an ethnology of sensory experience andmaterialization.


ritual, citizenship, materialization, soundscape

How to Cite

Damsholt, T., (2008) “The Sound of Citizenship”, Ethnologia Europaea 38(1), p.56-65. doi:

Publisher Notes

  • This article was previously published by Museum Tusculanum Press.



Tine Damsholt (University of Copenhagen)



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This article has been peer reviewed.

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