Jamaican Sound Systems and Knowledge Systems: Practice-Based Research (PBR) in Popular Culture

Henriques, Julian F. and D'Aquino, Brian. 2023. Jamaican Sound Systems and Knowledge Systems: Practice-Based Research (PBR) in Popular Culture. Performance Matters, 9(1–2), pp. 316-335. ISSN 2369-2537 [Article]

427-Article Text-2703-1-10-20230711.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (1MB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

Working with popular street cultures in the Global South offers scope for practice-based research (PBR) to go beyond its application with creative practitioners in the galleries and theatres of the Global North. We start from an account of a “reasoning session” with reggae sound system owners, selectors, and engineers staged as a PBR event in Kingston, Jamaica. Such popular music cultures across the Global South have their own specialist apparatus for playing recorded music and—most important for a PBR investigation—their own embodied, situated, and tacit knowledge systems. These include the sophisticated arts of selecting music, tuning up a sound system, and the value of the culture for the communities from which they originate, as well as strategies for current challenges, such as police harassment and lack of government recognition or support. Accessing such grassroots knowledge systems requires not only a good rapport with local practitioners but also close cooperation with their own organizations and with local university researchers. Such PBR also demands sharing research findings—for example, by screening the documentary film we made of the reasoning session for its participant. It is concluded that practitioners’ ways of knowing as revealed by PBR can help challenge conventional ideas about the nature of knowledge itself.

Item Type:


Additional Information:

Copyright (c) 2023 Julian Henriques, Brian D'Aquino

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


reggae, situated knowing, Jamaica, technology, embodied knowledge, practice-as-research

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies > Centre for Sound, Technology & Culture (CSTC)
Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


11 July 2023Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

30 Aug 2023 08:26

Last Modified:

30 Aug 2023 08:35

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)