The sonic framing of place: Microsociology, urban atmospheres and quiet hour shopping

Eduardo de la Fuente , Michael Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In this article we examine the sonic framing of place. Our theoretical approach combines Goffman’s microsociology (and its sociology of music/sound studies off-shoots) with an account of sound in the urban atmospheres literature. Drawing on the work of French urban sociologist Jean-Paul Thibaud and associated work on sound in urban environments by the CRESSON research centre, we propose that sound frames activity in particular ways, including by infusing self and space with a certain tone, and by rendering places more or less hospitable. In the latter part of the article, we examine Quiet Hour shopping as a case study in the sonic constitution and transformation of places. We conclude by reflecting on whether the social and cultural theoretical analysis of sound has suffered from a ‘noise bias’, and whether the ‘resonances’ of public places is a new frontier in both sociological research and in the politics of cities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-149
Number of pages19
JournalThesis Eleven: critical theory and historical sociology
Issue number1
Early online date26 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2022


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