This paper explores attempts made in North America to govern noise and uses the current debates over the impact of wind turbines on human health as a site for examining the politics of noise regulation. I address a number of key questions: First, how has noise been defined and how have these definitions changed over time? Second, how have we tried to control noise and on what grounds have we done this? Lastly, how have our responses to noise been shaped by who is making the noise and who is being disturbed? I argue that our understandings of noise and how we regulate it cannot be disentangled from the broader social, political, cultural, and technological contexts in which these discussions take place. Ultimately, the debates about noise regulation have as much to do with who is making the noise and who is being disturbed as the noise, itself.

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Canadian Journal of Law and Society
Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Mopas, M. (2019). Howling Winds: Sound, Sense, and the Politics of Noise Regulation. Canadian Journal of Law and Society, 34(2), 307–325. doi:10.1017/cls.2019.19