Musical Listening and Boundary-Work

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Acts of listening to music are synonymous with the deployment of social boundaries around the individual that afford an intimate and enjoyable connection with music. Technologies like mp3 players and other portable music devices, rather than being novel acts of separation between listeners and others, only augment the pre-existing social boundaries implicit in acts of musical listening. This chapter argues this by first examining the idea of the social boundary. It then considers two case studies of musical listening. The first concerns the transformation of listening in opera and concert halls in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The second considers the process of listening in the contemporary home. Framing is explicitly linked with boundary-work because, through framing, individuals insert boundaries. The chapter examines that boundary-work as a type of framing activity is plainly illustrated when individuals segment social activities, locations and behaviours into public and private categories.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhilosophical and Cultural Theories of Music
Subtitle of host publicationSocial and Critical Theory: A Critical Horizons Book Series
EditorsEduardo De La Fuente, Peter Murphy
Place of PublicationUnited States
PublisherBrill Academic Publishers
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9789004193406
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Publication series

NameSocial and Critical Theory


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