Sonic Agency: Sound and Emergent Forms of Resistance

LaBelle, Brandon. 2018. Sonic Agency: Sound and Emergent Forms of Resistance. London: Goldsmiths Press. ISBN 9781906897512 [Book]

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Abstract or Description

In a world dominated by the visual, could contemporary resistance be auditory? Sonic Agency highlights sound’s invisible, disruptive, and affective qualities, and asks whether the unseen nature of sound can support a political transformation. In this timely and important book, author Brandon LaBelle sets out to engage contemporary social and political crises by way of sonic thought and imagination. He divides sound’s functions into four figures of resistance – the invisible, the overheard, the itinerant and the weak – and argues for their role in creating alternative “unlikely publics” in which to foster mutuality and dissent. He highlights existing sonic cultures and social initiatives that utilize or deploy sound and listening to address conflict, and points to their work as models for a wider movement. By examining the experience of listening and being heard, LaBelle illuminates a path from the margins toward hope, citizenship, and vibrancy. When the current climate has left many feeling they have lost their voice, it may be sound itself which restores it to them.

Item Type:



resistance, political transformation, conflict, sound, sonic thought, sonic imagination, sonic cultures, listening

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Goldsmiths Press


2 February 2018

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

02 Sep 2019 08:30

Last Modified:

03 Mar 2023 16:09


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