What Is Sociological about Music?

  • Roy W
  • Dowd T
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The sociology of music has become a vibrant field of study in recent decades. While its proponents are well aware of this field's contributions and relevance, we focus here on demonstrating its merit to the broader sociological community. We do so by addressing the following questions: What is music, sociologically speaking? How do individuals and groups use music? How is the collective production of music made possible? How does music relate to broader social distinctions, especially class, race, and gender? Answering these questions reveals that music provides an important and engaging purchase on topics that are of great concern to sociologists of all stripes—topics that range from the microfoundations of interaction to the macro-level dynamics of inequality.

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  • William G. Roy

  • Timothy J. Dowd

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