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If one word could possibly capture Hesmondhalgh’s exhaustive rumination on Why Music Matters, it might be contradictions. Hesmondhalghaddresses many of the contradictions of music: its “ability to unite people across space and time,”(p. 10)but also its potential role through “aesthetic experience…to divide people, rather than bring them together” (p. 133). We also discussed much in class about the way music can be personal and intimate, but also collective and public. Later, Hesmondhalgh grapples with the work of sociologist Bernice Martin as to whether rock in fact serves “conservative functions,” (p. 73) while only pages later he points to the work of historian Tom Blanning for crediting music’s “liberating power” for the greater tolerance and acceptance toward queer identities (p. 77). There are many more examples discussed of the contradictions present in our understanding of music.
At the end of his book, Hesmondhalgh asserts the following:
So how can we ensure that music’s value is maximized, that more people flourish better through music? I would like to think that answers to this question have been strongly implied throughout this whole book, by pointing to the constraints on music, as well as its potential” (emphasis added, p. 171).
In this question, your goal is to address some of these contradictions(music’s potential and its constraints) while also pointing toward how music’s value can be maximized, so that more people can flourish through music. In answering this question, here are some concepts you will need to address to some extent:
A What is collective flourishing?
b.sociable publicness and deliberative publicness (see pgs. 143, 144)
c. “consumerism, commodification, and competitiveness”(p. 10)