Neu: Mediated Sound as Meeting Place and Battleground

International Journal of Communication Publishes a Special Section on Sonic Publics

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 at that published January 15, 2019  in the International Journal of Communication.

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

International Journal of Communication (IJoC)
USC Annenberg Press
University of Southern California