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During the past 10-15 years an increasing interest in the auditory aspects of human life has developed within the Humanities in the Nordic countries as well as throughout the world. The emergence of the field of sound studies that responds to this tendency can be traced to a number of developments running through the modern welfare states. Four examples to illustrate this:
The design of urban development focuses not only on infrastructure, building material, visual design etc., but also on noise as a parameter for social life. Technological innovation (such as the transformation of the music industry due to MP3 technology and streaming services) are aspects of societal and commercial developments, but at the same time factor in changing our understanding of what a culture of listening might be. Sound art and installation art are responses to critical developments within art history and at the same time examples of the emergence of new digital art forms. The digitalization of sound archives raises questions of cultural memories and gives us new understandings of our auditory past. As different as these examples might be, they are nevertheless aspects of auditory culture. They are examples of development taking place in the middle of our society, and for this reason alone, sound studies must be organized with the general purpose of analysing contemporary life forms.
The noble ambition of The Nordic Research Network for Sound Studies will be to engage analytically in this important inquiry. The six research seminars are planned for the period 2012-2014 which this purpose in mind.
The Nordic Research Network for Sound Studies is funded by the Nordic Research Council, Nordforsk.