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Music and Cultural Analysis in the Classroom: Introducing Sociology through Heavy Metal

Jarl A. Ahlkvist
Teaching Sociology
Vol. 27, No. 2 (Apr., 1999), pp. 126-144
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1318699
Page Count: 19
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Music and Cultural Analysis in the Classroom: Introducing Sociology through Heavy Metal
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Abstract

This article demonstrates that popular music's potential as a tool for teaching interactive introductory sociology courses is enhanced when a cultural analysis of a specific music genre is incorporated into the classroom. Using this type of analysis as an integrative course theme promotes active learning as students apply sociological ideas to explain empirical reality. Using heavy metal music as an example, I present a two-part model for integrating a cultural analysis of this music and its subculture into the introductory course. Students first conduct a sociologically grounded cultural analysis of heavy metal music. Then they expand this analysis during the rest of the course by applying new concepts, theories, and research to explain this cultural object sociologically. The article's final section discusses the application of this model in a range of class contexts and provides student responses to its use in an introductory sociology course.

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