Can you hear me now? Musical values, education and 'voice'

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This article addresses a number of questions concerning the use of music by young people. In particular, the argument presented seeks to bring to the fore a set of concerns whose significance is often overlooked or downplayed in debates about young people's engagements with music. These relate to music's capacity to function, on the one hand, in a way that reflects and embodies ethical and ideological commitments of varying kinds and, on the other, as a vehicle of expression through which people might 'give an account' of themselves. The article first surveys some of the ways in which scholars have conceived of the relation between forms of musical activity and their broader social force before turning to recent research and policy developments concerned with school-based music education in Britain and considering the ways in which certain forms and dimensions of young people's expressive musical activity are granted legitimacy and state support while others are ignored or marginalised. The final part of the article reflects upon the foregoing discussion and introduces the concepts of 'voice' (Couldry, 2010) and 'recognition' (Honneth, 1995), to consider how the promotion of some musical values to the detriment of others has important implications for the ways in which young people understand the extent to which their claims - and not just cultural ones - are taken seriously within society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-144
Number of pages10
JournalMedia International Australia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013

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