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The Age of Noise in BritainHearing Modernity$
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James G. Mansell

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040672

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040672.001.0001

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Creating the Sonically Rational

Creating the Sonically Rational

Modern Interventions in Everyday Aurality

(p.99) 3 Creating the Sonically Rational
The Age of Noise in Britain

James G. Mansell

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines rationalizing attempts to intervene in the everyday sounds of early twentieth-century Britain, focussing on two spatial case studies – the industrial workplace and the home – where reformers targeted their attention in the inter-war period. It traces the influence of state-sponsored industrial psychologists who situated their dispassionate expertise about noise in opposition to the noise abatement movement led by the Anti-Noise League. The chapter also examines documentary filmmaking as a third practice where state-sponsored activity sought to shape everyday attitudes to sound. The chapter argues that these activities ultimately legitimated noise as a necessary feature of modern life.

Keywords:   noise, Industrial Psychology, neurosis, architectural acoustics, housing, mass-observation, documentary film, film sound, GPO Film Unit

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