Personal soundtracks on public transit : personal listening devices and socio-spatial negotiations of students' bus journeys
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One way of exploring the power of sound in the experience and constitution of space is through the phenomenon of personal listening devices (PLDs) in public environments. In this thesis, I draw from in-depth interviews with eleven Brock University students in S1. Catharines, Ontario, to show how PLDs (such as MP3 players like the iPod) are used to create personalized soundscapes and mediate their public transit journeys. I discuss how my interview participants experience the space-time of public transit, and show how PLDs are used to mediate these experiences in acoustic and non-acoustic ways. PLD use demonstrates that acoustic and environmental experiences are co-constitutive, which highlights a kinaesthetic quality of the transit-space. My empirical findings show that PLDs transform space, particularly by overlapping public and private appropriations of the bus. I use these empirical findings to discuss the PLD phenomenon in the theoretical context of spatiality, and more specifically, acoustic space. J develop the ontological notion of acoustic space, stating that space shares many of the properties of sound, and argue that sound is a rich epistemological tool for understanding and explaining our everyday experiences.