Mapping cultural auracy: The sonic politics of the day the Earth stood still

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Social Semiotics, 2007, 17 (1), pp. 87 - 110
Issue Date:
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Anna Kassabian writes in Hearing Film that "classical Hollywood film music is a semiotic code, and that it can and should be subjected to various semiotic and cultural studies methods, such as discourse analysis and ideology critique" (p. 36). This paper examines the sound of a particular Hollywood film-the B-Grade 1950 science fiction "classic" The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)-in order to perform the kind of analysis Kassabian demands; but also to argue that the analysis needs to encompass not only music, but all sonic elements of the film. Furthermore, the paper argues for development of a cultural auracy that will complement studies of verbal and visual literacies in multimodal and multimedia texts. © 2007 Taylor & Francis.
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