Jacob Kingsbury Downs
University of Sheffield
Can we describe certain sonic experiences as “homely,” even when they take place outside of a traditional home-space? While phenomenological accounts of home abound, with writers detailing a rich spectrum of the felt characteristics of the homely including safety, familiarity, and affective “warmth,” there is a scarcity of research into sonic experience that engages with such literatures. With specific interest in the experience of embodied space, I account here for what might be termed feelings of “sonic homeliness” as they emerge during headphone listening. After forming a conceptual model of homeliness that draws from phenomenological philosophy, I investigate its applicability to experiences of headphone listening. Through analysis of primary interview data, I consider how headphones may be said to territorialize space for listeners, analyzing how sonic “boundaries” are experienced in relation to the body, as well as how some listeners describe their experiences as interiorized, comforting, and “wombic.”
Keywords phenomenology  sound  space  home  headphones  Merleau-Ponty  Bachelard  philosophy of technology
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