Listening to the Street: Urban Sounds in Hamburg-Altona between the „Right to the City“ and the „Creativity Dispositif“

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


  • Lisa Gaupp
  • Nikolas Bielefeldt
  • Rufus Giesel
  • Kathleen Göttsche
  • Zoe Hasse
  • Simon Laumeyer
  • Leona Lenßen
  • Julia Mai
  • Anna Rüpcke
  • Louis Rummler
  • Joanna Dill
This study examines the complex relationship between music and cities. More specifically, it explores how, when and why distinct urban atmospheres and unique urban spaces are created through music, specific sounds or creative social practices such as busking. As Andreas Reckwitz has shown, it has become a social regime in accordance to the creativity dispositif to act creatively and to strive for originality and uniqueness. Busking and other creative expressions in public sphere seem to satisfy this demand, but at the same time, they also tend to symbolise practices of resistance against neo-liberal discourses. According to Reckwitz, this social aestheticisation can be observed especially in cities, for example, in neo-liberal discourses such as city marketing. To examine this ambivalent if not contradictory divide, this empirical study focuses on STAMP, an international street arts festival in Hamburg, Germany, and especially, on related music practices. It considers macrostructures, such as city policies, organisational and spatial politics of gentrification and micro-practices of creativity expressed in symbolic interactions or practices of participation, following specific sociocultural conventions. Using a mixed method research design including ethnography, surveys, qualitative interviews and soundscape analysis, this study explores the many different facets of urban sounds in the streets of Hamburg-Altona from different sociological perspectives. By considering not only different perspectives, such as those of the organisers of the festival, the city, local residents, audiences or musicians as well as cultural policies but also the sound of the festival, this study aims to answer the question whether such urban musical practices are at odds with or contribute to what Reckwitz refers to as “creativity dispositif” and related processes of gentrification or whether they can be related to what Henri Lefebvre has described as the “right to the city”.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAVANT: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 22.12.2020