Organizing the sensory: ear-work, panauralism and sonic agency on a forensic psychiatric unit

Brown, S.D. ORCID: 0000-0001-7841-3225, Kanyeredzi, A., McGrath, L., Reavey, P. and Tucker, I., 2020. Organizing the sensory: ear-work, panauralism and sonic agency on a forensic psychiatric unit. Human Relations, 73 (11), pp. 1537-1562. ISSN 0018-7267

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Abstract

How are relations of care and security between hospital staff and patients organized through sound? This article argues that a shifting distinction between meaningful sound and noise is fundamental to the lived experience of immersion in an organizational acoustic environment. Based around a qualitative study of listening practices and ‘ear work’ at a medium-secure forensic psychiatric hospital, using interview and photo-production methods, the article positions the organizing of the sensory as central to formal organization. Analysis of empirical material demonstrates how the refinement of key listening practices is critical to the ways in which staff and patients orient to the hospital setting. It also details how the design process for the unit has undermined the capacity to manage and control through sound, or ‘panauralism’, rendering it as a reversible and contested struggle to make sense of the acoustic environment, and describes the attempts by patients to create alternative acoustic spaces and exercise ‘sonic agency’. We contend that ‘acoustic organizational research’ offers an experience-near means of mapping organizational space and power relations and invites a renewed questioning of the role of the sensory as form of organizing in itself.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Human Relations
Creators: Brown, S.D., Kanyeredzi, A., McGrath, L., Reavey, P. and Tucker, I.
Publisher: SAGE Publications in association with the Tavistock Institute
Date: 1 November 2020
Volume: 73
Number: 11
ISSN: 0018-7267
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.1177/0018726719874850DOI
1116822Other
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Jill Tomkinson
Date Added: 05 Sep 2019 10:11
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2020 10:04
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/37574

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