Dissonance: scientific paradigms underpinning the study of sound in geography


  • Daniel Paiva Centre for Geographical Studies, Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning, Universidade de Lisboa


The objective of this article is to approach the different conceptions of sound – and its relations to the underlying scientific paradigms – that emerged throughout the history of geography. There has been a growing interest among geographers in understanding the spatialities of sound, and geographies of sound have become an emerging subfield of the discipline. For this reason, it is the right time to address how the discipline has approached sound throughout its history. Several theoretical perspectives influenced geography in the twentieth century, changing its methodologies and how its subjects were conceived. Sound, like other subjects, has been conceived very differently by geographers of competing paradigms. Concepts such as noise, soundscape, or sound as affect, among others, have dominated geographies of sound at specific periods. Due to the marginality of the subject in the discipline, assessments of these conceptual shifts are rare. I tackle this issue in this article as I provide a first attempt of writing a history of sound in geography. The article reviews debates regarding the name of the subfield, and the conceptions of sound in the successive and competing scientific paradigms in geography.

Reviews and Essays



How to Cite

Paiva, D. (2018). Dissonance: scientific paradigms underpinning the study of sound in geography. Fennia - International Journal of Geography, 196(1), 77–87. https://doi.org/10.11143/fennia.69068