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Title: Musical value, ideology and unequal opportunity : backgrounds, assumptions and experiences of students and lecturers in Irish higher education
Author: Moore, Gwen
ISNI:       0000 0004 2741 5417
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis forms a critical inquiry into historical and contemporary ideologies of musical value within Irish higher music education and it documents significant implications for issues of access and opportunity at all levels of music education. In particular, it explores cultural, structural and agential conditions that affect student and lecturer experiences in higher music education. Drawing from Bourdieu, the study considers the ways in which musical habitus, cultural capital and social class impact on students' access to formal musical knowledge and skills and their experiences and opportunities in higher music education. Through an application of Bernstein's theory of classification and framing to musical knowledge, the study highlights the extent to which ideological assumptions of musical value shape curricula, the 'hidden curriculum', and pedagogy. Employing complementary research methods, data gathering tools include documentary analysis in addition to surveys and interviews with students and lecturers across eleven out of thirteen Irish higher education institutions offering music at undergraduate level. Findings reveal that unequal access to musical knowledge and skills relates to broader structural inequalities such as social class background, statutory music education provision, and state music curricula. The implicit advantage enjoyed by some students with private music theory tuition in meeting the demands of the higher education curriculum, contrasts with unequal access to requisite musical knowledge and skills for those who have relied on the state for music education. In addition, data highlight the role that higher education structures and political agendas play in bringing ideologies of musical value and knowledge into sharp focus. Drawing from theories of social realism by Moore and Young, the thesis argues that epistemic access to musical knowledge and skills is vital for access, opportunity, and success within and beyond higher education. Through the construction of a conceptual model, the relationship between cultural capital within the field of higher education reveals structure/agency as pivotal in student and lecturer experiences. To conclude, the thesis proposes a reconsideration of epistemological and pedagogical approaches at all levels of music education. For it is in reappraising the ways in which musical opportunities ought to be equally accessible, as well as appropriately challenging, that musical disadvantage can be addressed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available