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“Image” explores the effects of what Don Ihde has called “visualism” on theoretical work being done in sound studies. It moves from a consideration of the otherwise improbable relevance of the image in thinking about sound to engagement with the role of the image in linguistic theories of the sign (Saussure’s “acoustic image”) and the role of what Michel Chion has called “acousmatic” sounds in the cinema. Throughout, the goal is to establish how the epistemological value of the image (not images per se) haunts both semiological and theoretical analysis in the field of sound studies. It thus concludes by challenging those in sound studies to be attentive to the epistemological force of the image in their field and to begin the work of leaving it behind.

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