To soothe or remove? Affect, revanchism and the weaponized use of classical music

Thompson, Marie (2017) To soothe or remove? Affect, revanchism and the weaponized use of classical music. Communication and the Public, 2 (4). pp. 272-283. ISSN 2057-0473

Full content URL: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/205704...

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Abstract

Over the past 30 years, in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States, classical music has come to function as a sonic weapon. It is used a means of dispelling and deterring ‘loiterers’ by making particular public and privately owned public spaces – such as shopping malls, bus stations, shop fronts and car parks – undesirable to occupy. In this article, I present weaponized classical music as a ‘revanchist’, audio-affective deterrent. Drawing upon Neil Smith’s description of the revanchist city, I examine how weaponized classical music works to affectively police neoliberal ‘public’ space. While credited with the capacity to ‘soothe away’ deviant behaviour through its calming influence, weaponized classical music ultimately aims to ‘remove’ the figure of the threatening and menacing ‘loiterer’ insofar as it is heard as repellent. Although affect has often been understood in contradistinction to social determinisms, weaponized classical music exemplifies the capacity of musical affects to function as a technology of social reproduction.

Keywords:revanchism, affect, music, sonic weapon, neoliberalism
Subjects:L Social studies > L700 Human and Social Geography
W Creative Arts and Design > W300 Music
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Media)
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ID Code:30021
Deposited On:27 Feb 2018 11:22

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