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Sonic Skills

Listening for Knowledge in Science, Medicine and Engineering (1920s-Present)

Authors: Bijsterveld, Karin

  • Shows how scientists have used sonic skills in knowledge making. 
  • Explains why listening for knowledge plays an ambiguous, if fascinating, role in the sciences. 
  • Combines historical and ethnographic evidence about the practices of listening on shop floors, in laboratories, field stations, hospitals, and conference halls throughout the twentieth century. 
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eBook  
  • ISBN 978-1-137-59829-5
  • This book is an open access book, you can download it for free on link.springer.com
Hardcover 29,12 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-59831-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
  • The final prices may differ from the prices shown due to specifics of VAT rules
About this book

It is common for us today to associate the practice of science primarily with the act of seeing—with staring at computer screens, analyzing graphs, and presenting images. We may notice that physicians use stethoscopes to listen for disease, that biologists tune into sound recordings to understand birds, or that engineers have created Geiger tellers warning us for radiation through sound. But in the sciences overall, we think, seeing is believing. This open access book explains why, indeed, listening for knowledge plays an ambiguous, if fascinating, role in the sciences. For what purposes have scientists, engineers and physicians listened to the objects of their interest? How did they listen exactly? And why has listening often been contested as a legitimate form of access to scientific knowledge? This concise monograph combines historical and ethnographic evidence about the practices of listening on shop floors, in laboratories, field stations, hospitals, and conference halls, between the 1920s and today. It shows how scientists have used sonic skills—skills required for making, recording, storing, retrieving, and listening to sound—in ensembles: sets of instruments and techniques for particular situations of knowledge making. Yet rather than pleading for the emancipation of hearing at the expense of seeing, this essay investigates when, how, and under which conditions the ear has contributed to science dynamics, either in tandem with or without the eye.

About the authors

Karin Bijsterveld is historian and professor of Science, Technology and Modern Culture at Maastricht University. She is author of Mechanical Sound: Technology, Culture, and Public Problems of Noise in the Twentieth Century (2008), co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies (2012) and co-editor of Sound Souvenirs: Audio Technologies, Memory and Cultural Practices (2009). Three recent publications are the edited volume Soundscapes of the Urban Past: Staged Sound as Mediated Cultural Heritage (2013), the monograph Sound and Safe: A History of Listening Behind the Wheel (2014), and a special issue on Auditory History guest edited for The Public Historian (2015). 

Table of contents (6 chapters)

  • Listening for Knowledge: Introduction

    Bijsterveld, Karin

    Pages 1-28

  • Sonic Signs: Turning to, Talking About, and Transcribing Sound

    Bijsterveld, Karin

    Pages 29-59

  • Modes of Listening: Why, How and to What?

    Bijsterveld, Karin

    Pages 61-86

  • Resounding Contestation: The Ambiguous Status of Sonic Skills

    Bijsterveld, Karin

    Pages 87-111

  • Popping Up: The Continual Return of Sound and Listening

    Bijsterveld, Karin

    Pages 113-129

Buy this book

eBook  
  • ISBN 978-1-137-59829-5
  • This book is an open access book, you can download it for free on link.springer.com
Hardcover 29,12 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-59831-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
  • The final prices may differ from the prices shown due to specifics of VAT rules
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Sonic Skills
Book Subtitle
Listening for Knowledge in Science, Medicine and Engineering (1920s-Present)
Authors
Copyright
2019
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-59829-5
DOI
10.1057/978-1-137-59829-5
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-59831-8
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
IX, 174
Topics