The Science of Listening in Bioacoustics Research: Sensing the Animals' Sounds

Theory, Culture and Society 35 (2):47-65 (2018)
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Abstract

Bioacoustics is an interdisciplinary field bridging biological and acoustic sciences, which uses sound technologies to record, preserve, and analyse large datasets of animal communications. But it is also a world, made of the meanings created through inter- and intra-species communication. This article empirically explores a variety of bioacoustics research, including interviews with researchers, as part of a broader qualitative study, in order to theorize the expanding sense and sensation of a global biosphere and sonic data. By giving a sustained and detailed account of the science of bioacoustics, particularly how its modes of measurement allow for a new way of understanding what is involved in the de-centred modes of hearing that re-centre acts of listening and, by extension, the nature of the relation between researcher and researched, the article contributes to methodological discussions regarding the longstanding questions of how researchers and scientists are implicated in the knowledge and objects they collectively produce.

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