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The Role, Position, and Function of Music in Contemporary Society

Course 2012-2013


Music is a social phenomenon, a social construct. Regarded this way, this course settles scores with a musical composition as an autonomous artwork. Music comes into being thanks to the cooperation of many people, amongst whom the artist (composer) is only one. This course will therefore focus on the production, distribution, and reception of art as a collective event.
Insight in these topics will be gained by a close reading of several texts on art and sociology.

Course objectives

  1. The student learns how to read a sociological text. S/he practices so-called ‘close reading’. The attention the student has to pay to such texts might benefit the way s/he deals with music (education).

    1. The student learns how to relate music to sociology and v.v. S/he learns to think on music within a sociological tradition, that is, investigating the production, distribution, and reception of music as a specific cultural field.
    2. The student develops a new attitude to music. S/he learns to bring music into different sociological and cultural perspectives. Music is placed in a social context

Time Table

This course takes place in the second semester. Lectures will be on Wednesdays from 1500 – 1700 at Lipsius room 147/148.The first lecture will take place on February 6.

Mode of instruction

Lecture + tutorial

Assessment method

Written exam with open questions.



Reading list

‘Electronic Reader’


NB: this course is NOT listed in Usis. Students are obliged to register for this course through the application form that can be downloaded via this link.

Application form

Contact Information

Marcel Cobussen
Tim Soekkha