Critique and Renewal in the Sociology of Music: Bourdieu and Beyond

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Abstract / Description of output

This paper reviews the status, position and legacy of Bourdieu in the sociology of music, the waxing and waning of his influence and the recent move away from Bourdieu towards something like a post-critical engagement with musical forms and practices. The idea is to show the reaction to and treatment of Bourdieu’s ideas as a gauge of where we are in the sociology of culture, the various strands of influence that emanate from his work, and to assess what is at stake in a ‘post-Bourdieu’ moment when a position once considered progressive and critical now acts as the foil against which new work is being conducted. The article engages with some recent contributions to the music/society debate from figures in the UK and France, and points to the ways these contributions move debates on musico-social relations into territories more sensitive to the complex mediating qualities of music. Such work is better placed, it is argued, to represent music as an animating force in everyday life, including its specific mediating qualities ‘in action’. At the same time, however, the construction of a new sociology of music is not without its perils. The article will conclude with some potential problems with these approaches, and take stock of what might be lost as well as gained by adherence to them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-138
Number of pages18
JournalCultural Sociology
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Bordieu
  • critique
  • cultural production
  • mediation
  • music
  • sociology of art

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