Listening to the monkey: Class and youth in the formation of a musical habitus

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This article explores the musical lives and music-related activities of a group of young people living on a deprived housing estate in North East England. Through the use of ethnography, I uncover how central aspects of these young people’s taste for, and uses of, their preferred ‘new monkey’ music function in respect of the values inscribed in their community’s past, the problems and challenges facing them in the present, as well as their anticipations of the future. To help think through the complex and sometimes contradictory processes at work within these young musico-cultural lives, I employ and specifically adapt a key Bourdieusian concept to encouraging thinking about such issues in terms of a musical habitus. As an invitation to explore the nexus of personal, social and historical factors that conjoin music’s possibilities with the contexts and conditions of lived practices, the concept of musical habitus reveals substantial explanatory potential.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-283
Number of pages29
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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