Music Sociology: Examining the Role of Music in Social Life

Edited by

Book Info

  • Length: 332 pages
  • Trim size: 6" x 9"

More books in:

Request Exam Copy


  • ISBN: 978-1-61205-313-4
  • Publish date: January 2014
  • List Price: $45.95
  • Your Price: $39.06


  • ISBN: 978-1-61205-312-7
  • Publish date: September 2013
  • List Price: $163.00
  • Your Price: $138.55


From jazz and folk to hip hop, heavy metal, and straight edge, popular music is not only a cultural artifact but an ever-expanding part of our social lives. The sixteen different genres explored in Music Sociology demonstrate that music everywhere reflects social values, organizational processes, meanings, and individual identity. Presenting original ethnographic research, the contributors use descriptions of subcultures to explain the concepts of music sociology, including the rituals that link people to music—and to the past and each other.

Authors consider the intersections of race, class, and gender identity as it is learned, structured, and modified through lyrics and cultural experiences. Authenticity of music in the way it is performed, understood, and experienced is central to the book, as is the way the music industry and technology further modify these experiences. Written by sociologists also involved in music, this collection takes the reader on a very personal—yet public—journey. It introduces sociology of music to those who may not be familiar with it and provides a basic historical perspective on popular music in America.

  • Original ethnographic research articles introduce students to the core concepts of music sociology just as it takes them through journeys doing field research.
  • Roy and Dowd’s What Makes Music Sociological is reprinted in Part One to introduce students to the key questions in music sociology today.

Author Info

Sara Towe Horsfall is an Associate Professor at Texas Wesleyan University. Previously she worked as a journalist and foreign correspondent in England, Greece, and India. Her recent books include Social Problems: An Advocate Group Approach (2012).

Jan-Martijn Meij is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Florida Gulf Coast University, with a specialization in environmental sociology, social inequality, and social psychology. His book on social problems and solutions will be published by Cognella in 2013.

Meghan Probstfield is Associate Professor of Sociology in the Department of Social Sciences at Indian River State College in Fort Pierce, FL, where he is co-organizing the Center for Media and Journalism Studies. His scholarly contributions include the “W. I. Thomas” entry in the Dictionary of Modern American Philosophy.


“This book yields many thoughtful ideas and findings about music in the Americas, and is worth study by students and music lovers. Summing Up: Highly recommended.” –CHOICE

“I think this is a wonderful book and a valuable tool for anyone interested in understanding the role of music in society.“
-Warren Waren, Texas A&M University


I. What Is Sociology of Music
Chapter 1: Here I Stand by Paul Robeson

Chapter 2: Five Important Moments in America’s Musical History—The Rest of the Story by Sara Towe Horsfall

Chapter 3: What Is Sociological about Music by Will Roy and Tim Dowd

Chapter 4: American Song by Howard Becker

II. Identity and the Experience of Music
Chapter 5: Music as Ritual: A Hotline to the Collective Conscious by Sara Towe Horsfall

Chapter 6: Moving Past Violence and Vulgarity: Structural Ritualization and Constructed Meaning in Heavy Metal Subculture by Jan-Martijn Meij, Meghan D.Probstfield, Joseph M Simpson, J. David Knottnerus

Chapter 7: Authenticity in Latino Music: Scenes of Place by Kathryn M. Nowtny, Jennifer L. Fackler,
Gianncarlo Muschi, Carol Vargas, Lindsey Wilson, Joseph A. Kotarba

Chapter 8: Ritualistic and Pure Soloing by Roscoe C. Scarborough

III. Music and Stratification
Chapter 9: Race by Russell A. Potter

Chapter 10: (Re)Presentin’ the Tragic Mulatto: An Analysis of Multiracial Identity in Rap Music by Matt Oware

Chapter 11: Skinhead Identity Contested: Ska Music, Racism, and Youth Culture by Daniel Sarabia

Chapter 12: Lowbrow Entertainment to Highbrow Art Form: The Case of Jazz and Heavy Metal by Roscoe C. Scarborough

Chapter 13: It Is What It Is: Race, Gender, and Privilege in Hip Hop DJ Culture by Michael Barnes

IV. Music and Subcultures
Chapter 14: Sect (From Jazz: Myth and Religion) by Neil Leonard

Chapter 15: Hardcore: An Ethnographic Study of an Evolving Music Subculture by Kerry Hendricks

Chapter 16: Not Fade Away: Ritual Solidarity and Persistence in the Jamband Community by Pam Hunt

Chapter 17: Taqwacore: An Introduction to Muslim American Punk Rock by Sarah S. Hosman

V. Music as Social Change and Commentary
Chapter 18: Hitler, the Holocaust, and Heavy Metal Music: Holocaust Memory and Representation in the Heavy Metal Subculture1980–Present by Mark Mengerink

Chapter 19: Painful Listening: The Musical Noise and Cultural Transcendence of Southern Italian Tarantism by Lee Blackstone

Chapter 20: An International Comparison of the Politics of Straight Edge by William Tsitsos

Chapter 21: Sing Out: Collective Singing Rituals of Folk Protest Music in US Social Movements by Jeneve Brooks

VI. Commodification of Music
Chapter 22: The Industrialization of Popular Music by Simon Frith

Chapter 23: Authenticity and Independence in Rap Music and Other Genre Communities by Jennifer C. Lena

Chapter 24: A Piece of Art Is Not a Loaf of Bread: Indie Rock’s Challenge to Commodification by Jeffrey Nathanial Parker

Chapter 25: Operating Outside of the Music Industry: Strategies of Production in a Semi-Professional Musical Art World by Diana Miller

Chapter 26: Why Pay for Music? How College Students Rationalize Illegal Downloading by Jason S. Ulsperberger, Kristin Ulsperberger, and Stan H. Hodges.

About Us | Contact | Order Information | Sales Reps | Employment