Urban Multiculture and Xenophonophobia in London and Berlin

Lisiak, Agata; Back, Les and Jackson, Emma. 2021. Urban Multiculture and Xenophonophobia in London and Berlin. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 24(1), pp. 259-274. ISSN 1367-5494 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

In this article, we argue that in the context of the rise of nationalism and increasing inequalities across European metropolises, developing an attentiveness to the sounds of the city can be utilized to unpack individual and collective claims to entitlement and belonging. Focussing on London and Berlin, we argue that thinking through two aspects of sonic registers – languages and non-verbal sounds – together can enrich understandings of cities where questions of living with difference have become politicized and fiercely charged. We draw on and further develop the concept of xenoglossophobia – the fear of foreign languages – to become inclusive of non-verbal sounds as well. Using the concept of xenophonophobia – the fear of all foreign sounds, including, but not limited to, foreign languages – we begin the process of naming racism beyond words in an attempt to find new ways to explore how the struggle for belonging is unfolding within the city. A consideration of the meanings given to sounds can offer a way to understand how boundaries between ‘us’ and ‘them’ are being drawn in European capital cities like Berlin and London.

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Everyday life, language, multiculture, racism, sound, urban, xenophobia

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1 September 2019Accepted
20 December 2019Published Online
1 February 2021Published

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Date Deposited:

27 Jan 2020 14:21

Last Modified:

10 Jun 2021 00:17

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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