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Sounding out the city : Persona - Michael Bull

Sounding out the city


Hardcover Published: 1st June 2000
ISBN: 9781859733370
Number Of Pages: 218

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On buses, trains, and streets over the past decade and more, youths in particular but increasingly older people as well tune into their personal stereos and tune out city sounds. Why? What does the personal stereo mean to these people and to urban culture more generally? Does it heighten reality? Enable people to cope? Isolate? Create a space? Combat boredom? Far too commonplace and enduring to be considered a fashion accessory, the personal stereo has become a potent artefact symbolizing contemporary urban life. This book opens up a new area of urban studies, the auditory experience of self and place. In doing so, it enhances our understanding of the role of media and technology in everyday life. Urban, cultural and anthropological studies have been dominated by explanations of experiences drawing upon notions of visuality. But culture always has an auditory component that shapes attitudes and behaviour -- perhaps nowhere more so than in the city where sound is intensified. This book challenges strictly visual approaches to culture by proposing an auditory understanding of behaviour through an ethnographic analysis of personal stereo use. The author reformulates our understanding of how people, through the senses, negotiate central experiences of the urban, such as space, place, time and the management of everyday experience, and examines the critical role technology plays. This book will be of interest to anyone seeking a fresh and incisive approach to urban studies, cultural studies, anthropology, sociology, or media and communication studies. 'This is a splendid book. Theoretically sophisticated, empirically compelling and opening up a new agenda for the study of the media by directing our attention, and not before time, to sound.' Roger Silverstone, Professor of Media and Communications, LSE

Industry Reviews

"This is a splendid book. Theoretically sophisticated, empirically compelling and opening up a new agenda for the study of the media by directing our attention, and not before time, to sound." --Roger Silverstone, Professor of Media and Communications, LSE

"[A] fascinating phenomenology of the personal stereo." --The Guardian

"Through narcissism, voyerism, and urbanism, Sounding Out the City listens to its fields' erotics and resists the temptation to turn sound into geography. It sticks close to the taboos of what everybody knows but rarely says, that which is traditionally passed by on the way to culture." --Sociological Review

"This text was thought provoking to the reviewer . . . It is an analysis that should be read by those interested in the interaction of the routine with imagination in media use and those looking to develop understanding of urban life that recognize the importance of sound." --Journal of Consumer Culture

"Reaffirms the Walkman's iconic status in cultural studies . . . provides interesting insights." --Times Higher Education Supplement

"Bull examines the complex relationships among sensory perception, technology, urban dwellers, and urban experience and uses his own insights to engage with the ideas of writers such as Adorno, Benjamin, Simmel, and Lefebvre. Abundantly illustrated with interview quotations." --Choice

"Michael Bull's important and engaging book breaks new ground by providing a theoretically and empirically rich account of what the personal stereo means in everyday life that effortlessly draws us into wider questions about the complexity of contemporary experience." --New Media & Society

"Empirically rich . . . a fascinating contribution to some new ways of thinking about the activities that we can find in our cities and their potential for affecting urban culture." --City

"Without attempts like this, no break with the familiar or the possible would occur. (The author's) work points to important gaps in urban theory and research and should be read for its generative quality." --American Journal of Sociology

"A solid, grounded contribution, which will be of great relevance to those interested in urban life, technology and music." --American Ethnologist

Prefacep. vii
Personal Stereos and the Management of Everyday Life: an Introductionp. 1
Notesp. 13
The World of Personal-Stereo Users: an Introductionp. 17
Notesp. 26
Personal-Stereo Use and the Management of Space, Place and Timep. 29
Reconfiguring the 'site' and 'horizon' of Experiencep. 31
Notesp. 41
Personal Stereos and the Management of Cognitive Contingencyp. 43
The Re-Appropriation of Time in Everyday Lifep. 55
Notesp. 67
An Ethnography of Auditory Looking, Aesthetics and Interpersonal Urban Relationsp. 69
Empowering the 'gaze': Personal Stereos and the Hidden Lookp. 71
Filmic Cities and Aesthetic Experiencep. 85
The Asymmetrical Urban: the Role of Personal Stereos in Managing Interpersonal Behaviourp. 97
Personal Steroes and a Critical Theory of Urban Everyday Lifep. 113
Sounding out the City: an Auditory Epistemology of Urban Experiencep. 115
Notesp. 132
Visual Theories of City Life and Personal-Stereo Usep. 135
Technology and the Management of Everyday Lifep. 147
Notesp. 166
Aestheticizing Everyday Life: a Critiquep. 171
Notesp. 183
Conclusionp. 185
Bibliographyp. 197
Indexp. 205
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781859733370
ISBN-10: 1859733379
Series: Materializing Culture
Audience: BAC
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 218
Published: 1st June 2000
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.6  x 1.6
Weight (kg): 0.42
Edition Number: 1

Earn 319 Qantas Points
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