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Sensory Formations
Series Editor: David Howes
ISSN: 1741-4725


What is the world like to cultures that privilege touch or smell over sight or hearing?

Do men’s and women’s sensory experiences differ?

What lies beyond the aesthetic gaze?

Who says money has no smell?

How has the proliferation of “taste cultures” resulted in new forms of social discrimination?

How is the sixth sense to be defined?

What is the future of the senses in cyberspace?

From the ancient Greeks to medieval mystics and eighteenth-century empiricists, Karl Marx to Marshall McLuhan, the senses have been the subject of dramatic proclamations.  Senses are sources of pleasure and pain, knowledge and power. Sites of intense personal experience, they are also fields of extensive cultural elaboration. Yet surprisingly, it is only recently that scholars in the humanities and social sciences have. turned their full attention to sensory experience and expression as a subject for inquiry.

This path breaking series aims to show how the “sensual revolution” has supplanted both the linguistic and the pictorial turns in the human sciences to generate a new field-sensual culture, where all manner of disciplines converge. Its objective is to enhance our understanding of the role of the senses in history, culture, and aesthetics, by redressing an imbalance: the hegemony of vision and privileging of discourse in contemporary theory and cultural studies must be overthrown in order to reveal the role all senses play in mediating cultural experience. The extraordinary richness and diversity of the social and material worlds, as constituted through touch, taste, smell, hearing, sight and, provocatively, the sixth sense, are addressed in the volumes of this series as follows:*

Empire of the Senses: The Sensual Culture Reader (Ed. David Howes) documents the sensual revolution in the humanities and social sciences, and reclaims sensation as a domain for cultural inquiry.

The Auditory Culture Reader (Eds. Michael Bull and Les Back)articulates a strategy of “deep listening”-a powerful new methodology for making sense of the social.

The Smell Culture Reader (Ed. Jim Drobnick) foregrounds the most marginalized, and potentially subversive, sense of modernity, in addition to sampling how diverse cultures scent the universe.

The Book of Touch (Ed. Constance Classen) maps the tactile contours of culture, exploring the powerful and often inarticulate world of touch, the most basic of our senses.

The Taste Culture Reader (Ed. Carolyn Korsmeyer) serves up a savory stew of cultural analysis, blending together the multiple senses of the term taste.

Visual Sense: A Cultural Reader (Eds. Elizabeth Edwards and Kaushik Bhaumik) explores and interrogates the multiplicity of scopic regimes within and without the Western tradition.

The Sixth Sense Reader (Ed. David Howes) asks: What lies beyond the bounds of sense? Is the sixth sense ESP, electromagnetic sensitivity, intuition, revelation, gut instinct, or simply unfathomable?

*Full publication details are available from the publishers, Berg, I st Floor, Angel Court, 81 St Clements Street, Oxford OX4 lAW, UK; or consult


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