Understanding Society through Popular Music

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The purpose of this book is to use music as a tool to help students understand the structure and process of social life. Sociologically, music is important because it simultaneously contains and reflects a people's language, values, feelings, concerns, and goals. The material in this innovative, compact supplement is current and relevant to the musical experiences of today's college and university students and includes a companion web site that features an instructor's guide, test bank, discussion questions, and links to relevant internet sites. To make the book easy to use in introductory sociology courses, it is structured along lines parallel to the way most instructors teach the course.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Music is a basic feature of social life. This important book helps students to really understand the extent that music affects all major social institutions and clearly shows how popular music can illustrate key sociological concepts. I would certainly use this accessible and well-written book in any introductory sociology course.

- Christopher J. Schneider, Sociology, University of British Columbia

Understanding Society Through Popular Music helps me to accomplish two of the main goals of my social history of rock course: 1) to get the students to see themselves and their relationships to music as part of an ongoing and evolving cyclic process — the very same process of self-discovery and expression in which their great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents also participated; and which their children, grandchildren, etc., are likely to experience; and, 2), to be cognizant of the many ways in which music functions in our lives and influences our thoughts and behavior.

- John Siqueiros, Music, The University of Texas at El Paso

This book captivates students’sociological imagination by exploring one of the most interesting subjects of the social world: music! Through providing engaging case studies, helpful theory summaries, and real life examples, this book not only enlivens students’ understanding of sociological concepts but will also deepen their appreciation of popular music.

- Jeneve R. Brooks, Sociology, Troy University

A good read all around. Excellent description/explanation of sociological theories plus current anecdotal application to musical situations that span a wide array of interests. It is an imaginative and fun journey for any ethnographic tourist – whether it is a student exploring sociology for the first time, or a student serious about the study of sociology and/or sociology of music.

- Sara Horsfall, Sociology, Texas Wesleyan University

Written by four top scholars in the field of music sociology, Understanding Society through Popular Music provides an accessible yet theoretically sophisticated introduction to the key ideas and concepts in our discipline. Engaging to its core, students in my introductory level survey course and upper level seminar on popular music subcultures rave about its relevance to issues they encounter in everyday life. This is one of the few texts that students will read cover to cover, and come to class asking for more.

-Robert Owen Gardner, Sociology & Anthropology, Linfield College

Our students swim in a sea of pop culture, music, images, objects and texts. This book speaks their language, telling sociological stories through music, and identifying the ways in which pop music permeates our social worlds. The authors have provided an engaging soundtrack for courses in introductory sociology, sociology of popular music and popular culture, and social psychology, among others. Students and professors will enjoy having this text on their playlist.

- Kerry O. Ferris, Sociology, Northern Illinois University

Understanding Society Through Popular Music deserves a sociological "high five" for a job well done. This revised edition connects the importance of sociology to "everyday Life" even further by focusing on a subject important to us all – music! By applying a sociological lens to popular forms of music at the individual and group level, this book delivers up important theories in our discipline but does so in an engaging and delightful writing style. From our individual experience and cultural understanding of music to studies of music scenes, subcultures and institutions, students will see how music influences and is influenced by key sociological concepts such as — social identity, deviance, race, class, gender, technology, institutions (e.g., family and religion), globalization, power and politics. An excellent teaching tool, this book doesn’t just explain the significance of music in our lives — it reminds us of the importance of sociology for all areas of social life. This book is an excellent text or supplemental text for undergraduates and a research primer for those who study music from a variety of other disciplines.

- Lori Holyfield, Sociology and Criminal Justice, University of Arkansas

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415954099
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 9/30/2008
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Joseph A. Kotarba is Professor of Sociology at the University of Houston and is author of several books including a forthcoming work on baby boomers and rock and roll fans. His musical tastes range from Henry Purcell to Van Morrison.

Phillip Vannini is Assistant Professor in the School of Communication and Culture at Royal Roads University. He is editor of Body/Embodiment and Material Culture and Technology in Everyday Life. His musical faith rests in the power of progressive hardcore and in the soothing melody of space and symphony rock.

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Table of Contents

@contents:Selected Contents: The Sociology of Pop Music 1. The Family 2. Deviance 3. The Economy 4. The Community and the Polity 5. Race, Class, and Gender 6. The Self and the Life Course 7. Globalization Conclusion

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