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Music rituals and social division: constructing, performing and legitimizing the social self

Papadopoulou, Maria 2015. Music rituals and social division: constructing, performing and legitimizing the social self. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This research explores the functions of music by analyzing the relationship between musical and social classification. More particularly it focuses on the manifestation of this relationship during the active participation of audiences in music events where the individual and the collective, the musical and the social are argued to be experientially interwoven. The main argument proposed is that music categories as well as the ritualistic structures and expressions that shape their corresponding live performances are linked with perceptions and fantasies of the social self. Considering elements such as representations, performativity and the constitution of identity within social interaction, this study questions the class-­‐focused approaches conventionally employed to explore the subject. Contrarily it proposes that the ‘reality’ or fantasy of the social self is not ‘a given’ but it is personally configured, and relates the construction of social identities to notions of the spectacle. The interplay between the mediatized representations that shape music categories and individuals’ agency to choose and construct their identity is argued to produce different discursive and performative expressions of ‘the ideal’. In this context, music rituals are sketched as opportunities for the celebration and legitimization of their embodied values, and idealized social identities and relationships. The empirical part of this investigation focuses on Greek music audiences. Employing semi-­‐structured interviews it examines the way individuals with different music identifications construct their understandings of music categories and their rituals, as well as their perceived interconnections with social identities. Its findings suggest that music categories are perceived as naturally linked with different aspects of individuals’ social selves and realities that are expressed and actualized in music performances, verifying the performative and discursive intertwinement of the two modes of classification. However, the analysis of the data collected also indicates that the values expressed or experienced during such immersive processes, which combine social relationships, cultural categories, and multisensory experiences, necessitate widening the theorization of the ‘ideal’.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature of music
Uncontrolled Keywords: Music, rituals, social division, performance, performing, social self
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2017 05:44

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