Music Education and Narratives of Social Cohesion: From National Melting Pot to Global Community Page: 24
This paper is part of the collection entitled: International Symposium on the Sociology of Music Education (ISSME) and was provided to Digital Library by the UNT College of Music.
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Music Education and Narratives of Social Cohesion
Social dimensions of music education have been neglected until recent decades. The
international symposium in music education series which began at the University of
Oklahoma in 1995 has been a catalyst for what we might call the 'sociological turn' in music
education. It is wonderful to see the efforts of early leaders-Hildegard Froehlich, Roger
Rideout and the late Steve Paul-generate interest in and commitment to the value of
sociological perspectives in music education. Now we gather here in Europe for the first time,
and in a sense it is an intellectual homecoming since sociology and social theory have their
roots in continental Europe.
When I set out to write this paper, I was keenly aware that I wanted to address a topic
that is sociological in nature, international in scope, and one that has particular relevance here
in Ireland. I kept coming back to the experience of living 'between worlds', something that I
have experienced personally for over twenty years as I travelled back and forth between the
United States and Ireland, those worlds that are separated geographically by a vast ocean that
has been well traversed over the years. I am reminded of Michel O Snilleabhiin's address at
the last sociology conference in St. John's in 2007, 'A Thread Across the Ocean', in which he
described the great transatlantic cable laid down in 1866 between the continents, but also the
emotional and intellectual ties between St. John's and Ireland (2008, p. 9). Those ties between
the continents have become closer ever the years.
My paper is somewhat autobiographical as I explore the age-old phenomenon of
immigration and how it has shaped and continues to shape social narratives within music
education. Living in two countries for over twenty years has meant a constant renegotiation of
national identities, changing relationships with the home country and the adopted one, and
reassessment of values in keeping with the dynamic nature of culture and the fast-paced
march of globalization in this particular period. I gained a few insights from reflecting on this
personal experience of migration and dislocation. First, each emigrant's story is a unique one,
Here’s what’s next.
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McCarthy, Marie. Music Education and Narratives of Social Cohesion: From National Melting Pot to Global Community, paper, July 2009; Dublin, Ireland. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1390643/m1/2/: accessed April 20, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Music.