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ERIC Number: EJ804738
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jan
Pages: 14
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 9
ISSN: ISSN-1545-4517
Music Education and Ethical Judgment in the Postmodern Condition
Locke, Kirsten A.
Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education, v7 n1 p74-87 Jan 2008
In his book "Democracy and Music Education: Liberalism, Ethics, and the Politics of Practice," Paul Woodford issues an invitation for shared dialogue and debate regarding the state of music education in developed countries. Through an appropriation of John Dewey's thoughts regarding a democratic society, Woodford sees great hope for the position and function of a democratic type of music education, with wider implications for a more democratic society. This essay explores what democracy in music education means for Woodford via Dewey, and the extent to which music education is democratic in contemporary societies. The author seeks to bring clarity to the question of "complexity, diversity and confusion" in the postmodern world as advanced by Woodford. She builds her discussion around the notions of the "postmodern condition," "performativity," and "ethical judgment" drawing on the work of the French theorist J. F. Lyotard. As the crisis of grand narratives extends to the postmodern condition of music education, she argues that narratives such as the maintenance of "serious music" as the legitimate field in music education are in crisis mode--they can no longer sustain the "absolute certainty" on which they were promulgated. She also asserts that a more insidious grand narrative--performativity--draws together notions of efficiency, reason and instrumentality and helps explain the predominance of technical rationalism in contemporary education. Since music is both open-ended and indeterminate, the author suggests, music teaching methods and approaches need to be ethically indeterminate in as much as they are critically responsive to changing musical/political circumstances and actions.
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: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A