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MacIntyre, Bourdieu and the practice of jazz

Banks, Mark (2012). MacIntyre, Bourdieu and the practice of jazz. Popular Music, 31(1) pp. 69–86.

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This article offers a sociological account of the labour of jazz musicians. The first part is concerned with elaborating a theory of jazz work based on Alasdair MacIntyre’s notion of social practices. Applying this theory to recent empirical work with British jazz musicians, the article reveals how the virtuous pursuit of specific ‘internal goods’ is judged to be particularly prominent in jazz, suggesting that it might constitute an ethical practice in MacIntyrean terms. While MacIntyre’s theory is argued to offer a congenial framework for an analysis of jazz, it is then compared and contrasted with more established readings of jazz practice – based on the work of Pierre Bourdieu – which suggest more objective and instrumental motivations for working in jazz. The article concludes by evaluating the relative merits of each approach.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2012 Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 1474-0095
Academic Unit/Department: Social Sciences > Sociology
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: OpenSpace Research Centre (OSRC)
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Item ID: 34712
Depositing User: Mark Banks
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2012 14:05
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2012 14:05
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