Music and Mediation: Towards a new Sociology of Music

Abstract : After a century of studies, there is no agreement on what it means to construct a sociology of music. From the beginning this ‘of' has been a place of tension, not of smooth coordination. If music has easily attracted social readings, there has been strong resistance to a systematic sociology of music whose aim would be to explain musical values or contents through reference to sociological factors. The most vehement prosecutor of such alleged reductionism was undoubtedly Adorno (e.g. 1976) - even though he himself became the worst reductionist when it came to popular culture (Adorno 1990); for him, only kinds of music that are not really art deserve sociological treatment (it is difficult to know if this is more disrespectful of popular music or sociology!). By contrast, the opposite programme - a positive explanation of the ways in which music is produced, diffused and listened to - has been attacked on the grounds that, given its refusal to address ‘music itself', it cannot acknowledge music's specificity.
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Antoine Hennion. Music and Mediation: Towards a new Sociology of Music. CLAYTON M., HERBERT T., MIDDLETON R. The Cultural Study of Music: A Critical Introduction, London, Routledge, pp.80-91, 2003. ⟨halshs-00193130⟩

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