1.1 Practices of Listening

For the first issue of ​Soapbox​, a graduate journal for cultural analysis, we invited PhD candidates and young researchers to submit proposals that explore listening as a critical practice. With this topic, we aim to bring together accounts of listening as both a method and object of analysis, including everyday practices and new modes of research that articulate who or what can listen and who or what can be heard.

In an age characterised by overabundant information and a cacophony of voices, attention is increasingly a matter of selection inseparable from politics. Traditional structures that amplify dominant expressions are being contested by the rise of large-scale communication platforms, which complicates the distribution of heard voices. Listening critically, therefore, calls for an examination of the spaces – digital, urban, or discursive – in which the voices of minorities are either muted or amplified.

An attentiveness to the practices of listening also takes seriously the idea that epistemological agency is not limited to the human subject, but extends across biological, technical, and inorganic bodies. By listening to the polyphonic assemblage of humans and non-humans alike, this issue aims to politicise listening not only in the sense of interpersonal communication but also as a broader cultural logic that creates platforms for some and silences others.

The issue will be published at the end of January 2019, featuring articles that develop concepts of listening in art, street protest, technology, and literature.

Surrounding this release, we will also publish on the website a series of shorter essays, opinion pieces, report-style features and art projects on related topics. If you would like to submit your own work relating to this theme, please refer to our submission guidelines.