Sensory studies arises at the conjuncture (and within) the fields of anthropology • sociology • history • archeology • geography • communications • religion • philosophy • literature • art history • museology • film • mixed media • performance • phenomenology • disability • aesthetics • architecture • urbanism • design

Sensory Studies can also be divided along sensory lines into, for example, visual culture, auditory culture (or sound studies), smell culture, taste culture and the culture of touch, not to mention the sixth sense (however it might be defined)

The Senses and Society

The Senses and Society is a journal founded in 2006 by Michael Bull and David Howes, together with Doug Kahn and Paul Gilroy. It is published three times a year. The journal carries full-length articles and a range of reviews (sensory design, book, conference and exhibition). The inaugural issue is available free on-line. To view the inaugural issue, or to consult the table of contents of each issue published to date, please visit

Aims and Scope of the Journal

A heightened interest in the role of the senses in culture and society is sweeping the human sciences, supplanting older paradigms and challenging conventional theories of representation.

This pioneering journal provides a crucial forum for the exploration of this vital new area of inquiry. It brings together groundbreaking work in the humanities and social sciences and incorporates cutting-edge developments in art, design and architecture. Every volume contains something for and about each of the senses, both singly and in all sorts of novel configurations.

Sensation is fundamental to our experience of the world. Shaped by culture, gender and class, the senses mediate between mind and body, idea and object, self and environment. The senses are increasingly extended beyond the body through technology, and catered to by designers and marketers, yet persistently elude all efforts to capture and control them. Artists now experiment with the senses in bold new ways, disrupting conventional canons of aesthetics.

  • How many senses are there?
  • What are the uses of the senses – all of them?
  • How is perception shaped by cultures and technologies?
  • In what ways are the senses hierarchized by gender, class, or race?
  • What are the social implications of the growing emphasis on the management of sensation (or, commercialization of the sensorium)?
  • How might a focus on the cultural life of the senses yield new insights into processes of cognition and emotion?

The Senses & Society aims to:

  • Explore the intersection between culture and the senses
  • Promote research on the politics of perception and the aesthetics of everyday life
  • Address architectural, marketing and design initiatives in relation to the senses
  • Publish reviews of books and multi-sensory exhibitions throughout the world
  • Publish special issues concentrating on particular themes relating to the senses

Readers interested in The Sense and Society will also find much material of interest in
Sound Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal (which launched in February 2016)
and Sensate: A Journal for Experiments in Critical Media Practice