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Kurt Blaukopf on Music Sociology – an Anthology

2nd Unrevised Edition

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Tasos Zembylas

This anthology contains seven texts by Kurt Blaukopf (1914–1999) that exemplify the sociological and epistemological position of this pioneer of Austrian music sociology. Blaukopf’s efforts were aimed at a comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach and analysis of music as a cultural phenomenon and as social practice. The primary aim of this anthology is to make Blaukopf’s work better known in the English-speaking world. It offers the interested reader a fruitful analysis of the relation between music sociology and its sister disciplines, e.g. musicology, a solid analysis in terms of the philosophy of science on the possibilities and limits of music sociology, and a highly topical discussion about the significance of intrinsic artistic aspects in music sociology.
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The Sociology of Art in the Orchestra of the Sciences

Extract

1

That is, a sociology not just of people but also of things!2

The definition of a scientific discipline and its demarcation from other disciplines is often regarded as an imperative. I would like to show that in the history of Austrian “sciences of the arts” [Kunstwissenschaften]3 the commitment to fluid boundaries and the effort to link different specialist disciplines has its tradition; that significant findings are owed to this style of thinking; that this way of thinking has experienced strengthening and precision through the logical empiricism of the Vienna Circle; and that it has also had consequences for the sociology of the arts.

Restrictive and integrative art sociologies

Two tendencies can be distinguished with regard to the position of art in the field of work of art sociology. One, which I would call restrictive, represents the belief that the sociology of art deals only with society and not with the arts. Art sociology is simply concerned with the social ← 109 | 110 → interweaving of the arts, says Alphons Silbermann, and not with “analyses of the art work itself”.4 In a similar sense, Fabio Dasilva insists that music sociology does not deal with music but with society.5 In contrast, however, as a French sociologist notes, an art sociology that restricted itself to the investigation of the social factors of production, distribution and appreciation of music would remain a “poor relation” of the art sociologies that do not set themselves such...

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