The (female) situated musical body
aspects of caring
Keywords:Gender in music, caring, music education, de Beauvoir, gender structures
The starting point for the study presented in this article is constituted by experiences of using Simone de Beauvoir’s philosophy and Iris Marion Young theories aiming to describe and understand the becoming of musical women in Swedish schools. Earlier research conducted outside the area of music shows that Beauvoir’s theories can help to explain – and provide means of change for – situations where there is a risk that traditional gender roles will be conserved. A majority of gender studies in the field of music education are based on the performativity theory of Judith Butler. In comparison, de Beauvoir states that repetitions and habits are stratified in the body as experiences, and that human beings are able to make choices in a situation. The aim of the study is to explore how caring is nurtured among girls in Swedish music educational settings. Material generated through two phenomenological studies conducted within specialist music programs in lower respectively higher secondary education in Sweden, constituted the empirical base for conducting re-analysis. This re-analysis followed a hermeneutical phenomenological analytical model. Examples of how caring seemed to be nurtured among girls in music education appeared at different levels and in different situations. It concerns actions made by the girls aiming to make the social and musical setting function in agreed upon ways, namely in the form of taking initiatives, filling “gaps”, and being flexible. Finally we reflect upon causes and changes in relation to actions that seem to establish and maintain female students as immanent, and non-able to run their own projects.
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