Who or what has the capacity to influence voice production? Development of a transdisciplinary theoretical approach to clinical practice addressing voice and the communication of speaker socio-cultural positioning Academic Article uri icon


  • Purpose: The purpose of this conceptual study was to develop a transdisciplinary theoretical approach to clinical practice in the area of voice that is informed by contemporary clinical and social sciences theories of voice production.Method: We used theoretical sampling to survey the clinical voice literature for different conceptualisations of forces that contribute to voice production and analysed these forces' capacity to act ("agency") on voice. We classified the selected conceptualisations according to wider theoretical perspectives that informed them and evaluated their capacity to account for the complexity of voice production.Result: We identified biological determinist, constructionist, and socio-cultural mediation theories as informing the various conceptualisations of voice production and agency. Finding all theories identified in the clinical voice literature inadequate, the conceptualisation of agency as a bioculturally mediated capacity to act was explored and found to be most suitable for a new transdisciplinary theoretical approach to clinical practice in the area of voice.Conclusion: The inextricable interplay between speaker, professional, and listener practices and supra-individual biocultural forces in voice production must be acknowledged. Clients need to be prepared to deal confidently with the multi-faceted, dynamic, and unpredictable nature of how voice function and socio-cultural positioning is produced in social encounters.

publication date

  • 2020