Sonic territorialization in motion. Reporting from the homeless occupation of public space in Grenoble

Ambiances International Journal, 2017

This research explores the political dimension of sonic environments within public space, with special attention on marginal stakeholders and their sonic behaviour. The aim is to investigate how public policies can relate to issues around the sonic environment and, more generally, how institutions can deal with social conflicts originated by a plurality of sonic perceptions.

In order to do so, the paper presents the outcomes of field research developed in Grenoble in 2015, focusing on the “sonic deterritorialisation” of groups of homeless people in the inner city. The case study shows how certain kinds of everyday practices shape and affect sonic and public space and, in particular, the way in which sonic traces reveal social conflict. Homeless people's occupation of public space often involves a sonic challenge to the status quo, which pits marginal stakeholders, citizens, and city users against one another - reflecting the necessity to establish new forms of coexistence.

'Sonic marginality' is thus the consequence of a lack of understanding. It constitutes a ground upon which a new sonic acknowledgment of 'otherness' might develop, and points up the necessary role of sonic studies in better implementing political awareness, and to propose innovative resolutions for social conflict.

> read full article

photo credits Nicola Di Croce