Based on focus groups and interviews with student renters in an Israeli slum, the article explores the contributions of differences in sonic styles and sensibilities to boundary work, social categorization, and evaluation. Alongside visual cues such as broken windows, bad neighborhoods are characterized by sonic cues, such as shouts from windows. Students understand “being ghetto” as being loud in a particular way and use loudness as a central resource in their boundary work. Loudness is read as a performative index of class and ethnicity, and the performance of middle-class studentship entails being appalled by stigmatized sonic practices and participating in their exoticization. However, the sonic is not merely yet another resource of boundary work. Paying sociological attention to senses other than vision reveals complex interactions between structures anchored in the body, structures anchored in language, and actors’ identification strategies, which may refine theorizations of the body and the senses in social theory.
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