Music, Knowledge and the Sociology of Sound

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5 Citations (Scopus)


The sociology of music has often concentrated less on analysing and understanding the specificity and meanings of musical material culture as both an object and a process and more about ransacking music for insights into wider social relations like class, race and gender. The social constitution of music and the musical constitution of the social deserve a more sustained attempt at explicating relations and musical forms. This paper looks at the literature on what is specifically sociological about music and why music is important for sociology but also begins to problematize the relationship between social science and material culture by moving beyond popular music studies and the study of music more generally to examine the sociology of sound and sound art. We argue that this raises difficulties for the whole concept of the social as part of a human science and that new sound studies have to have a more nuanced and critical understanding of sociological epistemologies and the objects and processes they seek to explicate at the same time as understanding the material formation of music. Questions of knowledge and meaning are embedded in music and the paper concludes by thinking about knowledge and the materiality of music as knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-60
Number of pages13
JournalSociological Research Online
Issue number4
Early online date1 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


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