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International Journal of Education & the Arts, v18 n7 Feb 2017

This work of critical social theory explores how formal music education in modern capitalist societies mirrors the hierarchical, means-ends, one-dimensional structures of capitalism. So, rather than consistently or reliably empowering and emancipating children musically, school music can tend to marginalize, exploit, repress, and alienate. The paper begins with a review of critical theories of social class, with emphasis on the roots of social class in historical beliefs about sociocultural evolution. Then, after considering in general terms how social class is overtly and covertly framed in music education, this framing is discussed in more detail within extant conceptualizations of musical taste, musical performance, and musical experience.

Descriptors: Social Class, Music Education, Social Theories, Social Systems, Music, Performance, Sociocultural Patterns, Social Differences, Poverty, Intelligence Quotient, Social Bias

International Journal of Education & the Arts. 1310 South 6th Street, Champaign, IL 61820. Tel: 402-472-9958; Fax: 402-472-2837; Web site:

Author: Bates, Vincent C.



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