Community music and the civic imagination

Camlin, D. A. (2023) Community music and the civic imagination. In: Listen to your Neighbourhood: Musik als Medium kultureller und Sozialer Arbeit. Beltz Juventa, pp. 10-21. ISBN 978-3-7799-7012-5


In this chapter, I outline how Community Music (CM) might be considered a resource of the civic imagination in the broader quest for ways of addressing complex global challenges. Over the last few decades, the full potential of CM to bring about social transformation has been paradoxically diminished by its coupling to political agendas, and this has led to two complex and related challenges. On the one hand, being musical has gradually been commodified into serving those political agendas – around social impact and more recently health and wellbeing. On the other hand, increasingly those same political systems have become a barrier to addressing the world’s most pressing problems, especially environmental degradation brought about by the ‘great acceleration’ (Anthropocene Working Group, 2019) of human population explosion, climate change and species extinction. As a result, by cosying up to political agendas, CM might have inadvertently become a resource to help people ‘cope’ with the challenges of living in this period of human history (Camlin, 2018), rather than being part of a wider movement to change those conditions.

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