In this book Shepherd and Wicke make a bold and original contribution to the understanding of music as a form of human expression. They argue that music is fundamental to social life. Music is not merely a form of leisure or entertainment: it is central to the very formation and reproduction of human societies. The authors pursue this argument through a wide-ranging assessment of some of the major cultural theoretical contributions to understanding music. Theories of culture, linguistic theories, structuralist and post-structuralist theories and psychoanalytic theories of music are carefully explained and critically examined. The authors then develop their own account of music as a non-referential yet material form of human expression which embodies and conveys principles of symbolic structuring. They emphasize the human body as a principal site for the musical mediation of social and symbolic processes. Music and Cultural Theory establishes new links between musicology and cultural studies, showing how each discipline can inform and enrich the other.
It will be recommended reading for students and professionals in musicology, media and communication studies, cultural studies and the sociology of culture.