A Sound Bridge: Listening for the Political in a Digital Age

Punathambekar, Aswin and Mohan, Sriram

This article examines how catchy sounds (“Why This Kolaveri” [“Why This Murderous Rage”]) can function as sonic cues for political participation. Exploring the sonic dimensions and aural imaginaries at play in mediated public spheres, we show how #Kolaveri became a sound bridge that enabled potent encounters among journalists, politicians, and citizens embroiled in heated debates about corruption in India. Tracing #Kolaveri’s movement across media platforms, we analyze three dimensions of the sonic cue―its availability, performativity, and resonance―that gave it a catalytic charge. Suggesting that sound technologies and practices constitute vital cultural and material infrastructures on which a bridge between the popular and the political can be built, we argue that cases like #Kolaveri disclose new ways of listening for the political and new modes of participation―the expression of sonic citizenship―in a digital era.

Title
A Sound Bridge: Listening for the Political in a Digital Age
Author
Punathambekar, Aswin and Mohan, Sriram
Published
University of Southern California/Annenberg School for Communication, 2017
On the web
Citation
Punathambekar, Aswin and Mohan, Sriram, "A Sound Bridge: Listening for the Political in a Digital Age," in International Journal of Communication, ed. (University of Southern California/Annenberg School for Communication, 2017), http://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/7060, International Journal of Communication, Volume 11, 4610–4629.