Music education research has in recent years been interested in defining music education’s societal mission. Concepts such as praxial music education, artistic citizenship, or an activist approach tried to determine that music education’s foremost task would be to transform societies. This seemed urgent in view of global crises. But is music education’s foremost mission really social change? To a certain degree, this is a sociological question. To answer it, a look back to the beginnings of sociology as a field of research is a promising way to go. When sociology emerged as a specific field of investigation, it was not clear if its task would be only analyzing how societies work or proposing necessary changes. The tension between the present and the future, between reality and “utopia” was significant for an emerging field. But the close connection to utopia got lost over time. Sociologist Ruth Levitas revives the approach of understanding sociology as a utopian field and develops the concept of the imaginary reconstitution of society. Furthermore, scholars in utopian studies or political science emphasize the usefulness of utopia in critical relation to transforming societies. Understanding sociology as a utopian field could provide innovative ideas for music education.
"In Search of a Better World? Reconsidering Sociology and Music Education as Utopian Fields,"
Visions of Research in Music Education: Vol. 41, Article 3.
Available at: https://opencommons.uconn.edu/vrme/vol41/iss1/3