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Towards a geography of voice-hearing

Nieuwenhuis, Marijn and Knoll, Emily (2021) 'Towards a geography of voice-hearing.', Emotion, space and society., 40 (August). p. 100812.


The social psychiatrists Marius Romme and Sandra Escher argue that boundaries are of critical importance in the therapeutic treatment of so-called ‘auditory verbal hallucinations’ (AVH), or, what is better known as, ‘hearing voices’. Limiting voices to a specific time and place, they argue, helps ‘voice-hearers’ to take back control from their voices. This paper draws inspiration from contemporary debates on sonic geographies to explore what it means for voice-hearers to engage in a complex relationship with their voices. We analyse a range of material and affective spaces to understand what it means for a voice-hearer to transcend, mediate and rework the boundaries between interior and exterior worlds. Besides a detailed conceptual discussion on the geography of voices and voicehearing, we conducted semi-structured interviews with a sample of thirty voice-hearers in North-East and South-East England to gain insight into their voice geographies. The participants move us to appreciate how voice-hearers construe relationships with their voices in complex and ambiguous ways. Some voice-hearers were able to challenge and even change the balance of power, allowing them to be ‘in control’, while others were not. The paper is aimed at introducing voice-hearing to a growing body of work on geographies of the voice.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo until 17 June 2023.
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives 4.0.
File format - PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:© 2021 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:31 May 2021
Date deposited:21 July 2021
Date of first online publication:17 June 2021
Date first made open access:17 June 2023

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