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Title: Schooling habitus : an auto/ethnographic study of music education's entanglements with cultural hegemony
Author: Fairbanks, Stephen Thomas
ISNI:       0000 0004 7968 570X
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis emerges out of my autoethnographic experience as a music-educator-turned-researcher in negotiating some of the entanglements between music education and cultural hegemony. In recent years, youth orchestras have been strongly promoted as a catalyst for social justice. Advocates of such programmes argue that the benefits of youth orchestra participation should be made available to all, regardless of cultural or socioeconomic circumstances. However, critics of these programmes contend that musical expression is culturally-situated and thus inappropriate to impose upon disadvantaged youth by the dominant culture. Such diverging viewpoints have resulted in an ideological impasse regarding the role of youth orchestras in respect to social justice. Sociologist Pierre Bourdieu's concepts of 'habitus', 'cultural capital', and 'symbolic violence' offer a framework by which social justice questions and cultural expressions can be merged into one. Accordingly, I use a Bourdieusian framework to explore the way in which habitus is influenced in the context of a youth orchestra, specifically focusing upon a highly successful high school orchestra in an ethnically diverse and economically disadvantaged community along California's international border with Mexico. Findings from auto/ethnographic fieldwork suggest that (1) school orchestras may be predisposed to perpetuate cultural hegemony and (2) individual students have sophisticated ways of mediating the effects of cultural hegemony. Building from these findings, I assert that if music educators can awaken to the possibility that they may be entangled in the perpetuation of cultural hegemony, they will be better able to acknowledge, address, and shape the way in which schooling impacts upon student habitus.
Supervisor: Burnard, Pam Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: music education ; autoethnography ; cultural hegemony ; Bourdieu