Managing the Sonic Environment: Ambient Noise, Creativity and the Regime of Ubiquitous Work (2017)

Artur Szarecki

About this exposition

In contemporary neoliberal capitalism, sound is increasingly employed to modulate the affective tonalities of environments and, as a result, attune bodies to everyday habitual regimes of conduct. In this paper, I argue that comprehending this new mode of sonic governance requires going beyond cultural theories that approach politics in terms of a symbolic struggle over meaning. Instead, I attempt to analyze Coffitivity – a web service that transmits recordings of ambient noise from coffee shops in order to boost the creative capabilities of workers – according to posthegemonic theory, positing it as a sonic apparatus designed to modulate the affective environment in such a way as to habituate the distributed multitude into a regime of ubiquitous work. Consequently, I claim that posthegemonic analysis can provide insights into the potential of sound to immanently modulate the field of embodied interactions, thereby contributing to the development of new techniques of power in contemporary neoliberal capitalism.
typeresearch exposition
last modified14/12/2017
published inJournal of Sonic Studies
portal issue15.

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