International Journal of Communication Publishes a Special Section on Sonic Publics


Announcements header

International Journal of Communication Publishes a
Special Section on Sonic Publics

sonic publics

                       Mediated Sound as Meeting Place and Battleground

Most theories of social power are built on the metaphor of visibility. From cultivation theory to panopticism to the digital public sphere, communication scholarship tends to focus on how the way we see and appear to one another shapes our relationships and structures our institutions. Yet, this disciplinary ocularcentrism not only reproduces existing cultural biases, it also prevents us from understanding a crucial aspect of social relations — namely, how social action and imagination emerge through organized sound, and through organization around sound.

As sound studies scholars and music practitioners at the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) annual conference, the editors and authors of this special forum experienced a degree of distortion. We tried to tune in to the field’s soundtrack, but there was silence. Although sound technologies, musical cultures, and the practices and subjectivities entangled with them are central to network technologies, internet research has been largely mute on the subject. This special section, based on an AoIR panel organized by the co-editors, aims to reverberate through the field by exploring different channels of sound-related inquiry. We hope the resonance of our work will help to expand the ways in which researchers engage with networked communication, and amplify new paradigms for thinking and researching about media old and new.

Guest edited by Aram Sinnreich and Elinor Carmi, this Special Section on Sonic Publics features four articles and an editorial introduction that includes a series of audio interviews focusing on subjects ranging from blockchain music payment platforms to social media content moderation to immigrant pirate radio to the role of laws and technologies in shaping musical style. Collectively, the articles delineate the broad range of issues that may be addressed through an investigation of sound at the nexus between media, technology and social processes. In short, they amount to far more than the sum of their parts — and offer far more than meets the eye.

We invite you to read these articles that published January 15, 2019  in the International Journal of CommunicationPlease Ctrl+Click on the titles below for direct hyperlinking to these articles.

Sonic Publics| Introduction and Audio Transcript
Aram Sinnreich, Elinor Carmi

Booming at the Margins: Ethnic Radio, Intimacy, and Nonlinear Innovation in Media
Larisa Kingston Mann

Convening Technologies: Blockchain and the Music Industry
Nancy Baym, Lana Swartz, Andrea Alarcon

Music, Copyright, and Technology: A Dialectic in Five Moments
Aram Sinnreich

The Hidden Listeners: Regulating the Line from Telephone Operators to Content Moderators
Elinor Carmi


Larry Gross

Arlene Luck
Managing Editor

Aram Sinnreich & Elinor Carmi
Guest Editors