Music, Methods and the Social

Call for papers
Music, Methods and the Social: A Research Workshop
May 17-18 2012
Curve Theatre, Leicester, UK

Trying to understand music as a social form raises the issue of methods. This is partly because of the ubiquity and polyvalence of music, which penetrates all areas of the social world in multiple ways, making investigation difficult. A further problem is that many conventional ways of representing musical sounds and practices pose challenges to scholars outside musicological disciplines. Yet is clear that to understand why music matters to people so profoundly we need a grasp both of the social, and the ways that music works as organised sound. How do we achieve this?

The aim of this interdisciplinary workshop is to gather, think and talk together about particular ways of finding out and articulating the complex relationships between music and the social. We invite both conventional and informal paper presentations/discussions (@15-20 minutes) from across disciplines that seek to address one or more of the following questions and/or suggest new lines of investigation or inquiry:

· Are there specifically musical social relations and how do you find them?
· How do social and cultural specificities shape our descriptions and understandings of music?
· Can music be a form of knowledge of the social (as Adorno suggested)?
· How can social scientists (and others) comprehend the sensuous fabric of music?
· How can I analyse music as organised sound when I don’t ‘know the notes’?
· What are the methodological innovations or implications of (my) recent work on music and the social?
· Which methods help us understand the role of music in people’s everyday lives?
· How do different methods help us create or re-construct a sense of music’s sociality?
· Can interdisciplinarity and methods transcend the academic division of labour in studies of music?
· What methods are appropriate for addressing the normative or value-laden dimensions of music?
· What methods best expose the connections between music and ideas of human emancipation?

Send abstracts (150 words max) to Karen Ho at by Wednesday 29th February 2012.

This is a free event sponsored by CRESC. However places are strictly limited to 25 participants and preference will be given to those contributors who cogently or creatively address workshop questions and themes. Successful contributors will be selected and contacted in early-mid March.

Contributors include: Simon Frith, Jeremy Gilbert, David Hesmondhalgh, Tina K. Ramnarine, Barry Shank, Henry Stobart, John Street

Workshop organisers: Jason Toynbee, Byron Dueck and Mark Banks (CRESC, The Open University)