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September 22 , 2010

Bourdieu and the Sociology of Music Education


Pierre Bourdieu has been an extraordinarily influential figure in the sociology of music. For over four decades, his concepts have helped to generate both empirical and theoretical interventions in the field of musical study. His impact on the sociology of music taste, in particular, has been profound, his ideas directly informing our understandings of how musical preferences reflect and reproduce inequalities between social classes, ethnic groups, and men and women. Bourdieu and the Sociology of Music Education draws together a group of international researchers, academics and artist-practitioners who offer a critical introduction and exploration of Pierre Bourdieu’s rich generative conceptual tools for advancing sociological views of music education. By employing perspectives from Bourdieu’s work on distinction and judgement and his conceptualisation of fields, habitus and capitals in relation to music education, contributing authors explore the ways in which Bourdieu’s work can be applied to music education as a means of linking school (institutional habitus) and learning, and curriculum and family (class habitus). The volume includes research perspectives and studies of how Bourdieu’s tools have been applied in industry and educational contexts, including the primary, secondary and higher music education sectors. The volume begins with an introduction to Bourdieu’s contribution to theory and methodology and then goes on to deal in detail with illustrative substantive studies. The concluding chapter is an extended essay that reflects on, and critiques, the application of Bourdieu’s work and examines the ways in which the studies contained in the volume advance understanding. The book contributes new perspectives to our understanding of Bourdieu’s tools across diverse settings and practices of music education.

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