Pierced Eardrums: Liminal Noise in Post-Semiotic French Thought

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Emerging in the wake of the broad paradigm of semiotics in discourses in the human sciences in France in the 1960s, and from other developments and emergent tendencies in philosophy and critical theory, a cluster of works in French thought of the 1970s, by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Jean-François Lyotard, and Roland Barthes, investigate the liminal spaces and dynamic relations between sense, sound, and noise. Depending on the angle adopted, these investigations bear upon the relations between articulated sound and noise; language and sound, the formed and the unformed, the coded and the non-coded, sound and music, sound and silence, and other formulations of acoustic liminality. This article brings to light how noise is an operative concept across this material; I argue for its pertinence to the question of the “mental state of noise” as elaborated by Steven Sands and John Ratey in their seminal piece “The Concept of Noise,” and then critically assessed by Cécile Malaspina in The Epistemology of Noise.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jun 2023


  • Noise
  • Post-semiotic
  • Roland Barthes
  • Jean-François Lyotard
  • Gilles Deleuze


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