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Thesis 1

THESIS DETAILS
Thesis Title: Boundary-Walkers: Contexts and Concepts of Community Music
Degree Type: PhD
Degree Specialism: Musicology
Supervisor(s): Prof. Patricia Shehan Campbell & Dr Helen Phelan
Thesis Status: Accepted
Date Submitted / Accepted: Jan 2006
Institution Submitting / Submitted To: University of Limerick
No. of Volumes (no. of pages): 1
Thesis Location / Link: http://hdl.handle.net/10344/1213
THESIS CONTENT
Persons / Composers: Peterborough Community Samba Band
Genres / Musical Instruments: Community Music
Related Places: UK, Brazil
Time Frame: 1968-2006
Key Issues / Concepts: Community Music, Identity, Context, community, Participation, Pedagogy, Deconstruction
Abstract: This study develops conceptual tools in which Community Music practices in the United Kingdom (UK) can be analysed and understood. From a proposition that suggests that the effectiveness of Community Music has been reduced due to the neglect of theoretical enquiry, this thesis attempts to redress the balance between Community Music practice and theory. Data collection includes interviews, questionnaires, participant observation, auto-ethnographic memory, documentation, journals and texts. Circumnavigating the fields of anthropology, community arts, cultural theory, sociology, philosophy, ethnomusicology and music education, this thesis pushes the boundaries of current notions of Community Music and presents a theoretical framework that can support claims that Community Music is a distinctive area of musical discourse. The thematic threads of identity, context, community, participation and pedagogy provide the organizational structure that helps guide the work throughout its six chapters.

After Chapter One outlines the thesis' proposition and the parameters in which it will proceed, Chapter Two examines the practice of Community Music from historical perspectives. Seen initially as a line of flight within the ferments of the community arts movement, Community Music is considered through cultural change, employment opportunities and professionalization, providing the springboard from which to discuss its future in general and its place within tertiary education specifically. Changing gear from the practical orientation of its history, Chapter Three considers notions found within Derridean deconstruction as a philosophical space in which to layer the voices and deepen the thematic material. In order to locate a conceptualization of Community Music there is a return to the Idea of music before institutional contamination and thus prior to Community Music's marginalization from other forms of musicking. A rethinking of a primordial music considers Community Music as omnipresent within any music experience. Through the deconstructive trajectory the traits of Community Music, identity, context, community, participation and pedagogy are explored and summarized as an alternative viewing station from which to analyse and describe Community Music practice.

In Chapter Four and through an ethnographic method, the study of the Peterborough Community Samba Band brings the mechanics of Community Music practices to the foreground. Drawing from the project's twelve-year history, the descriptions provided by those who have participated furnish a thick narrative in which to test theoretical concerns. Casting the deconstructive lens over the ethnographic account, Chapter Five makes a significant gesture in the realization of Community Music theory and practice.

With respect to the initial proposition of the thesis, Chapter Six ascertains that Community Music projects provide a wealth of avenues in which people come to know themselves and the world in which they live. Logocentric attitudes towards the nature of music have diminished participatory opportunities and have reduced the potential richness of the human musical experience. Through greater consideration of the interconnectivity between practice and theory, Community Music as a discipline can help to redress this balance. In this way, the thesis constructs a hinge by which to open discussions surrounding the efficacy of

Community Music with music educators, music philosophers, performers, and makers of policy that guide, direct and make decisions as regards music and musical doing.

Contact Details

Current Institution Affiliation: The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts
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