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ERIC Number: EJ970628
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0958-5176
Bach, Beethoven, Bourdieu: "Cultural Capital" and the Scholastic Canon in England's A-Level Examinations
Legg, Robert
Curriculum Journal, v23 n2 p157-172 2012
This article applies Bourdieu's notion of "cultural capital" to historical, documentary research which investigates the construction of a scholastic canon within England's A-level music examinations. A digest of the ways in which this canon evolved between 1951 and 1986 is presented in support of the idea that examiners' responses to emerging trends in historical musicology were characterised by a high level of caution. An analysis of the examiners' unreceptive approaches to avant-garde works and to music written by women is employed not only to suggest an underlying conservatism within examiners' practice, but also to contend that this scholastic canon is part of a cycle of reproduction which serves to exclude certain groups of students from higher education. Effects of this cycle on social mobility are discussed both in relation to the historical period under investigation and in light of contemporary debates about the prescription of canonic works within secondary school curricula. The article's conclusions challenge the "disinterestedness" of prescription within the curriculum and identify important factors which should be among the foremost considerations of those planning national programmes of study, both in music and beyond. (Contains 2 notes, 3 tables, and 1 figure.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)