Chapter

Audibility Is a Trap

Christiane Lenk

in Germany in the Loud Twentieth Century

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199759392
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918911 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199759392.003.0008
Audibility Is a Trap

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Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s Das Leben der Anderen shows surveillance by the Stasi as an integral part of the East German past. Yet surveillance is not solely achieved through sight, but more importantly through sophisticated methods of eavesdropping. Aural surveillance is the focus of this chapter, which uses Michel Foucault’s Panopticon as the basis for analyzing the power relations between observer and observed, and how the observed internalizes the system of oppression. This chapter explores the two functions of sound in the film: sound as a means of oppression, and at the same time as a vehicle to overcome it.

Keywords: Das Leben der Anderen; Stasi; East Germany; Foucault; Panopticon; surveillance

Chapter.  6392 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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