Sound of democracy: towards the democratisation of standards for soundscapes

Sandra Kopljar*, Philip Dodds, Mark Nicholas Grimshaw-Aagaard, Sanne Krogh Groth, Clara Gustafsson, Marie Koldkjær Højlund, Kristoffer Mattisson, Dalia Mukhtar-Landgren, Enrico Ronchi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review


With this paper and the accompanying audio paper, our aim is to explore the juxtaposition of sound and democracy. Recognizing the multifaceted nature of this field, we approach it through the notion of care and an empirical analysis of democratic implications of trying to regulate sound in public spaces. We examine standards as one example of the many attempts to control sound in both public and private spaces. Standards are used to categorize, govern, and control. They are also tools to assess and characterise. As policy tools they raise democratic questions relating to who developed them, when and how they are used. Using the example of a shopping mall, we explore the democratic values reflected in the standards through their development and application through an inter-disciplinary perspective. We used the audio paper format to move from discussing the process of developing the soundscape standards to applying them in a real-world setting, ultimately exploring the consequences of such standards from the perspective of democratic values. The present written paper is a longer elaboration on methodology and theory as a compliment to the audio paper which develops the discussion and analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInterNoise24
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Sound
  • Democracy
  • Soundscape
  • Standards


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