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This paper examines the interrelationship of technology, space and identity as exhibited in the domestic music listening practices of the audiophile. Music listening in domestic contexts provides both a physical and imaginary space of cultural consumption. The paper describes work in progress into phenomenological aspects of listening, practices of audio technology use in domestic contexts, and features of identity formation based on a qualitative study of hi-fi listeners.
Technological and cultural change in the production of aural soundscapes and processes of reception provide the backdrop to the current study. Three main issues are addressed. Firstly, the promise of digital technology to provide ubiquitous and enveloping forms of musical experience is described. Secondly, the distinctive aesthetic experience of music listening is examined through accounts of listening spaces. Finally, music listening is located within the material culture of the home and identified as a cultural practice providing a central element in the constitution of subjectivity for music listeners.
O’Neill, B. ‘Listening Spaces: audiophiles, technology and domestic music listening’, Sounding Out 2 - An International Symposium on Sound in the Media. July 2004.