ISSN: 20509790
First published in 2014
3 issues per volume
Volume 2 Issue 1-2
Cover Date: June 2015
Urban soundscapes and critical citizenship: Explorations in activating a ‘sonic turn’ in urban cultural studies
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Authors:  Aileen Dillane And  Tony Langlois And  Martin J. Power And  Orfhlaith Ní Bhriain 
DOI: 10.1386/jucs.2.1-2.89_1

sonic turn,cities,urban soundscapes,critical citizenship,popular music,acoustic ecology,urban regeneration,listening

This special section of the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies engages with the idea of activating a ‘sonic turn’ in urban cultural studies scholarship, in part through the evocation of the paradigm of critical and participatory citizenship, as well as through critical approaches to understanding how sound and music are implicated in the texture of a city. This work is therefore informed by theorizations of topdown and of bottom-up approaches to engagements with, and representation of, the city, through sonic and musical means. Drawing on a variety of disciplinary approaches, including urban ethnomusicology, urban sociology, cultural geography, acoustic ecology and soundscapes studies, this introductory article examines what is meant by ‘the sonic turn’ as it relates to sound and music studies and how and why this should matter to the study of cities and of the urban experiences of citizens in the broadest sense. This introduction also summarizes aspects of the five papers in this collection, signalling the different approaches taken by each of the authors as evidence of the richness such sonic and musical investigations into the city and the urban experience can bring to urban cultural studies. With a focus on urban ethnography and on applied dimensions of research, particularly in the contemporary city, this article seeks to underscore the importance of listening to and hearing the city, especially for those citizens that do not necessarily have an ‘official’ voice or the technical means to interpret and engage with their sonic environments. Finally, this article suggests how sonic cultural interventions and engagements may assist, if not in social regeneration, at least in promoting a greater understanding of the complex sonic dimensions of city life as mediated and experienced by urban dwellers and as imagined by others.
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