Questions of youth, identity and social difference in the classroom study of popular music : a case study in the development of media education
This thesis is centrally concerned with just one specific practice, teaching Media Studies with school students in the 14-18 age phase, and with one marginal feature of that practice, the study of popular music. The thesis explores the place of popular music in Media Studies and, in doing so, engages with issues of social and educational identity for people in the last years of secondary schooling. The introduction initiates an autobiographical theme, subsequently informing discussion of the negotiation of identities between the researcher and the school students. Chapter 1 provides an account of popular music in the literature of media education and in the parallel literature of music education. Chapter 2 reviews aspects of debates around 'adolescence' and 'youth', with reference to questions of 'agency', and thus provides a background for the analysis of data presented in Chapters 4, 5 and 6. Chapter 3 offers an overview of methodology and sets out a chronology of the research with particular emphasis upon its progressi ve focusing. The methodological precedents for the thesis lie in action research and in the development of 'reflective practice' in teacher education, and particularly within English and media education itself. Chapters 4 and 5 report upon a taught unit relating to popular music, conducted in collaboration with a Head of English. Within the frame of the institutional relation between teacher and taught, issues of class and gender are given particular attention in the analysis of the data. Chapter 6 reports a more 'experimental' intervention in Media Studies practice. The chapter derives from a further phase of research with first year A Level Media Studies students in a selective school and extends the earlier discussion of gender and class in relation to modes of (self) representation within particular educational settings. Chapter 7 reviews the research and possibilities for teaching pop music in Media Studies.