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Mechanical Sound
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"Complaints about noise are as much a part of modern sound culture as noise itself, and yet we know little of the history of noise. Karin Bijsterveld's Mechanical Sound changes all that; it is unprecedented in topic and scope. At once episodic and ambitious, Mechanical Sound places noise as one of those 'modern problems' that reformers, legislators, and scholars have tried -- unsuccessfully -- to control. The book shows how decades of reform, measurement and regulation attempts have resulted in a melange of noise practices and expectations, rather than a fantasyland of peace and harmony. Bijsterveld provides a meaningful alternative to the pieties of noise criticism, whether they come from public health literature or soundscape artists. Because of its range and originality, Mechanical Sound will change the way scholars across the disciplines talk about 'noise' and 'silence'." -- Jonathan Sterne, Department of Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University, and author of The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction

About the Author

Karin Bijsterveld is Professor of Science, Technology, and Modern Culture at the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Maastricht University, the Netherlands.

Reviews

"Complaints about noise are as much a part of modern sound culture as noise itself, and yet we know little of the history of noise. Karin Bijsterveld's Mechanical Sound changes all that; it is unprecedented in topic and scope. At once episodic and ambitious, Mechanical Sound places noise as one of those 'modern problems' that reformers, legislators, and scholars have tried -- unsuccessfully -- to control. The book shows how decades of reform, measurement and regulation attempts have resulted in a melange of noise practices and expectations, rather than a fantasyland of peace and harmony. Bijsterveld provides a meaningful alternative to the pieties of noise criticism, whether they come from public health literature or soundscape artists. Because of its range and originality, Mechanical Sound will change the way scholars across the disciplines talk about 'noise' and 'silence'." -- Jonathan Sterne, Department of Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University, and author of The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction

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