Technology, Listening and Historical Method: Placing Audio in the Post-War British Home

Perchard, Tom. 2017. Technology, Listening and Historical Method: Placing Audio in the Post-War British Home. Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 142(2), pp. 367-399. ISSN 0269-0403 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article explores the ways that audio in the home was figured in (and helped shape) changing consumer and gender roles in postwar Britain. It looks at the ways that innovations in home furnishing and audio equipment design and manufacture created an environment with new tactile as well as sonic qualities; it examines the ways that changing music styles helped develop new markets for audio equipment, and new meanings for audio discourse. But before it does so, the article sets out some arguments on cultural-historical method. Extant academic writing on postwar home audio tends to privilege the study of media representation – and the critique of ideology constructed therein – at the expense of other kinds of enquiry and source work. In making use of a broader range of sources and interpretive approaches, this piece aims for a thick reading of the ‘social’ along with the ‘cultural’.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Audio, Home, Britain, Postwar, Technology, Historiography

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Music > Popular Music Research Unit


1 September 2016Accepted
27 September 2017Published Online

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

17 Feb 2017 10:42

Last Modified:

09 Mar 2021 12:32

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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