Sound and Safe: A History of Listening Behind the Wheel

Sound and Safe: A History of Listening Behind the Wheel

by Karin Bijsterveld, Eefje Cleophas, Stefan Krebs, Gijs Mom
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Do you enjoy listening to music while driving? Do you find radio traffic information indispensable? Do you like to sing along with whatever you like as you drive?

This book tells the fascinating story of how, over the course of the twentieth century, we turned automobiles from intentionally noisy contraptions into spheres of auditory privacy that make us feel

See more details below

Overview

Do you enjoy listening to music while driving? Do you find radio traffic information indispensable? Do you like to sing along with whatever you like as you drive?

This book tells the fascinating story of how, over the course of the twentieth century, we turned automobiles from intentionally noisy contraptions into spheres of auditory privacy that make us feel sound and safe. It explains how engineers in the automotive industry found pride in making car engines quieter once they realized that noise stood for inefficiency. And, after the automobile had become a closed vehicle, it follows them as they struggled against sounds audible within the car. The book also traces how noise is linked both to fears - fears of noise-induced fatigue, fears about the danger of the car radio and drivers' attention spans - and to wants, exploring how drivers at one point actually desired to listen to their cars' engines in order to diagnose mechanical problems and how they now appreciate radio traffic information. And it suggests that their disdain for the ever-expanding number of roadside noise barriers made them long for new forms of in-car audio entertainment.

This book also allows you to peep behind the scenes of international standardization committees and automotive test benches. What did and does the automotive industry do to secure the sounds characteristic for their brands? Drawing on archives, interviews, beautiful historical automotive ads, and writing from cultural history, science and technology studies, sound and sensory studies, this book unveils the hidden history of an everyday phenomenon. It is about the sounds of car engines, tires, wipers, blinkers, warning signals, in-car audio systems and, ultimately, about how we became used to listening while driving.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Sound and Safe is not only a succinct description of the task car producers set for themselves nor just the title of the book; it could also describe the book itself: historically accurate, informative, neatly organized, and detailed, an accomplished academic work by four outstanding Dutch scholars - in short, 'sound and safe'...This is a book that should not be missing on the bookshelves of any student or scholar interested in sound studies." —Journal of Sonic Studies

"This wonderfully researched and written book charts the fascinating history of our relationship to the sound of automobiles. From the individual strategies and skills embodied in listening to the sound of our engines to the commercial practices that have standardized and marketed those sonic experiences. Sound and Safe is a major contribution to our understanding of the culture of the automobile." —Michael Bull, author of Sound Moves: iPod Culture and Urban Experience

"Most music is listened to in cars. Karin Bijsterveld and her colleagues in this fascinating well-researched book, part of the new interdisciplinary field of sound studies, trace mainly in European contexts how cars have become auditory bubbles cocooned from their surroundings." —Trevor Pinch, Cornell University

"Deeply researched, highly compelling, and utterly original, Sound and Safe will be of immense interest to scholars of sound studies, automotive culture, and cultural, business, and engineering history. In unprecedented detail, it explains the acoustemological history of automotive culture, explaining how cars were heard, why they were listened to in particular ways, and how their sounds and their silences have come to define the driving experience. A splendid, absorbing, and important book." —Mark M. Smith, University of South Carolina

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199925698
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
12/02/2013
Pages:
248
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.00(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >