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ERIC Number: EJ804721
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Dec
Pages: 23
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1545-4517
Legible Bodies in Music Education: Becoming-Matter
Gould, Elizabeth
Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education, v6 n4 p201-223 Dec 2007
This article offers a highly-nuanced account of social justice that attempts to get beyond the facile and familiar rhetoric of "fairness" to more grounded, material, and embodied understandings of injustice. In an analysis that revolves around the concepts of performativity, legibility, and "the abject"--the "radically excluded"--the author argues that people's bodies and lives come to matter (they achieve legitimacy) by adherence to normative patterns of action grounded in both repetition and exclusion. Oppression and exclusion, then, would appear to constitute the unavoidable "dark side" of normativity--the political process in which "majority" mentality draws the boundaries around what or whose existence counts, and whose does not. Legibility, normativity, performativity, and subjectivity are thus crucial to understanding how people are sorted into groups that warrant recognition, whose existence must be acknowledged (as legitimate, as worthy of consideration, as real), and those that don't. Thus, social justice has as one of its fundamental concerns the act of "rendering the abject legible." People come to music, the author points out, already "constituted in terms of (at least) gender, sexuality, and race, already legible or illegible in an ongoing process of re-signification." What does music add to this, she wonders? Can people who do not matter materially matter musically? She points, disturbingly, to "students and teachers illegibly constituted by school music programs that systematically exclude their musics and musical ways of becoming in the world," and urges the destruction of the "categorical gridding" that undergirds all systems of oppression. She advocates, instead, "becoming-minoritarian" and "interconnected," such that music teachers and students may begin to "traverse musical and educational borders together." (Contains 20 notes.)
MayDay Group. Brandon University School of Music, 270 18th Street, Brandon, Manitoba R7A 6A9, Canada. Tel: 204-571-8990; Fax: 204-727-7318; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A