Plugging into Infrastructures with Happy Plugs Headphones


Happy Plugs headphones are a global object—they are designed in Sweden, manufactured in China, and exported to various countries the world over. Through the slogan “What color are you today?®” the Swedish company Happy Plugs frames the headphones within an economic infrastructure that is centred on ideologies about individualism and practices of constructing one’s identity. Through this marketing strategy, vision becomes the primary sense that provokes the product’s purchase and over-consumption; sound becomes secondary to style, function becomes eclipsed by fashion. As such, the headphones shift from being a means to an end (accessibility to music/sound) to becoming an end in itself (a visual commodity). Furthermore, potential growth for the company is tied up with their ability to produce a piece of technology that heavily depends on its allure as an accessory. Yet, alongside being an accessory, headphones are also protective prosthetics. As a kind of “Do Not Disturb” sign, headphones can offer some people, often women, a sense of temporary security in public. Happy Plugs headphones are not just an object with which we can access the music in mp3 players and smartphones, they also help us plug into myriad infrastructures.


The Corresponding Author (acting on behalf of all authors of the respective work) transfers and assigns to the Journal (Contingent Horizons: The York University Student Journal of Anthropology), during the full term of copyright and any extensions or renewals of that term, all copyright in and to the Work, including but not limited to the right to publish, republish, transmit, sell, distribute and otherwise use the Work in electronic and print editions of the Journal and in derivative works throughout the world, in all languages and in all media now known or later developed, and to license or permit others to do so.


Notwithstanding the above, the Authors retain all proprietary rights other than copyright, such as patent rights, in any process, procedure or article of manufacture described in the Work. The Journal grants back to the Authors the following distinct rights:

  1. The non-exclusive right to use, reproduce, distribute, publicly perform, and publicly display the Work in any medium in connection with the Authors’ academic and professional activities, including but not limited to teaching, conference presentations, and lectures.
  2. The non-exclusive right to create derivative works from the Work.
  3. The non-exclusive right to make full use of the Work in future research and publications, including the right to republish the Work in whole or in part in any book that one or more of the Authors may write or edit after the Work has appeared.
  4. The non-exclusive right to authorize others to make any non-commercial use of the Work.
  5. The non-exclusive right to make both the pre-print and the final published version available in digital form over the Internet, including but not limited to a website under the control of one or more of the Authors or their employers, or through open access digital repositories such as those maintained by institutions, scholarly societies, or funding agencies.


When distributing or re-publishing the Work as authorized above, the Corresponding Author agrees to credit the Journal as the place of first publication.


The Corresponding Author represents and warrants that the Work is the Authors’ original work and that it does not violate or infringe the law or the rights of any third party and, specifically, that the Work contains no matter that is defamatory or that infringes any literary or proprietary rights, intellectual property rights, or any rights of privacy. The Corresponding Author also warrants that he or she has the full power to make this agreement, and if the Work was prepared jointly, the Corresponding Author agrees to inform the Authors of the terms of this Agreement and to obtain their written permission to sign on their behalf. The Corresponding Author agrees to hold the Journal harmless from any breach of the aforestated representations.


In consideration of the Corresponding Author’s grant of rights, the Journal agrees to attribute the Work to the Authors.


This agreement reflects the entire understanding of the parties. This agreement may be amended only in writing by an addendum signed by the parties. Amendments are incorporated by reference to this agreement.