As an object of study, our sonic environment seems to be a quite recent discovery (with the exception of music). It is only at the end of the past millennium that more and more books were published on the aural relation living beings have to their environment. However, one of the most important and trailblazing books on sonic studies already appeared in 1977, R. Murray Schafer’s The Tuning of the World. As Brandon LaBelle writes, the book marks out ‘the parameters, delineations, and categories of acoustic experience and its material operations.’ (LaBelle, 2007, 202)
The main purpose of Murray Schafer’s work was to study the dynamic interaction between the sonic environment, the socio-cultural milieu, and the individual listener as well as the (conscious and unconscious) effects sound has on human behavior. This might be regarded as the purpose of sonic studies in general today and it is also the primary aim of the Journal of Sonic Studies (JSS): how can we understand the impact and importance of sound, both on an individual and a general cultural level? JSS thus provides a platform for theorists and artists who would like to present relevant work regarding the sonic environment.
JSS presents, stimulates, and brings together a versatility of possible approaches. That is why it pays attention to the sonic design of consumer articles (cars, washing machines, coffee-makers) as well as to the influence of hearing on the relation between mother and fetus; to urban noise pollution as well as the use of sonic weapons in war zones; from interventions in public space by sound artists as well as the effects of background music in shopping malls.
JSS offers the possibility to present new insights into the relation between sonority and (the deconstruction of) identity, the concept of space, the influence of digital technology, urban planning, deafness, etc. It covers both the material production and active consumption of sound (including music, noise and “silence”) and the bio-cultural meaning of sound and listening. In this way, JSS contributes to a rethinking of the relation between acoustics and society.
JSS advocates multidisciplinary research and is open for knowledge from various fields of study; from history to philosophy, sociology and anthropology; from medical studies to architecture, legal and technical sciences; from ecology to sound art, performance and media studies; etc.