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"We will fight Goliath": Negotiation of space for musical agency in children's music education
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Creative Studies (Teacher Education).
2018 (English)In: Research Studies in Music Education, ISSN 1321-103X, E-ISSN 1834-5530, Vol. 40, no 2, p. 140-156Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Following a music philosophy debate deriving from the 1990s, this article puts the extra-musical and social outcomes of situated music educational practices at the fore. The Swedish replica of the choir and orchestra school El Sistema, a programme globally asserting social change and social impact, appeared useful for elaborating such outcomes in practice. Following this, the present study aims to empirically elaborate musical agency as an analytical concept to understand children’s experiences, while at the same time discussing musical agency in relation to a social discursive view on practice. A Swedish El Sistema children’s string orchestra was followed for three months and the material for analysis consists of audio recordings and observation notes from lessons, performances and family events, as well as documents surrounding the activities. Constructions of discipline, empowerment and space are revealed as affecting opportunities for musical agency. The study thus elaborates on discursive constraints and opportunities for agency negotiation while discussing social outcomes with and within music education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2018. Vol. 40, no 2, p. 140-156
Keywords [en]
children, El Sistema, musical agency, music education, social change, social discursive practice
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-148847DOI: 10.1177/1321103X18771796ISI: 000453274700002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-148847DiVA, id: diva2:1216703
Available from: 2018-06-12 Created: 2018-06-12 Last updated: 2019-01-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. ”Liksom ett annat uppdrag”: iscensättning av social rättvisa i musikundervisningens retorik och praktik
Open this publication in new window or tab >>”Liksom ett annat uppdrag”: iscensättning av social rättvisa i musikundervisningens retorik och praktik
2018 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
“Sort of another task” : rhetorical and practical performances of social justice in music education
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to identify, describe, and problematize constructions of social justice in Swedish music education. The thesis has an ethnographic design, and presents four empirical studies. The studies, in the shape of four scientific articles, emblematise musical practices in community schools of music and art, as well as in elementary schools. The conceptual framework of the concept of social justice precipitates a focus on the prime object of study, El Sistema. Music education as organised by El Sistema explicitly communicates social aims, and the programme operates in both Swedish community schools of music and art, and in elementary schools. All together, the empirical data consist of marketing material (films and written documents), observational field-notes and sound recordings from one semester’s fieldwork in a children’s music educational group (ages 7-9), as well as sound-recorded focus group interviews with music teachers from both community schools of music and art and elementary schools. Article I shows how different conceptions of music, children, emotions, and social transformation are constructed to legitimate El Sistema in the Swedish community schools of music and art. Here, the objects of study are films and written texts published on El Sistema’s Swedish website. Article II elaborates how musical agency is performed by participating children in relation to conceptions of music education and social justice constructed in the educational practice. Articles III and IV elaborate teachers’ negotiations and constructions of teacher roles and the educational task in relation to conceptions of social justice. Within a comprehensive social constructionist perspective, participants’ opportunities for action and negotiation, in practice, are perceived as determined by societal, institutional and local preconditions, and by overarching and established conceptions that are typical for certain eras. With this theoretical point of departure, both local and societal conceptions of the musical subject, its objectives, means, and aims, as well as conceptions about accessibility, equality, democracy and social justice, are constantly negotiated. Thus, apparently natural and established ideas can be problematized. Based on all studies’ results, relations between established conceptions, structural preconditions, and social relations are scrutinised from the way they influence performances of the music educational practice. The final discussion encompasses consequences for teachers’ ability to reflect, as well as children’s and young peoples’ meaning making through musical actions. The thesis’ critical perspective aims at evoking new questions, and generating new knowledge concerning the preconditions and the content of institutionally financed music education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2018. p. 115
Series
Doktorsavhandlingar i pedagogiskt arbete, ISSN 1650-8858 ; 82
Series
Umeå Studies in the Educational Sciences ; 29
Keywords
music education, school, social justice, music sociology, social constructionism, musical agency, affective discursive practice, educational work
National Category
Pedagogical Work Music
Research subject
educational work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-154143 (URN)978-91-7601-976-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-01-18, Hörsal E, Humanisthuset, Umeå, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-12-14 Created: 2018-12-12 Last updated: 2018-12-12Bibliographically approved

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Kuuse, Anna-Karin

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