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Ideas about Emotion, Style, and Meaning for the Study of Expressive Culture

Harris M. Berger

Publication Year: 2009

Why does music move us? How do the immediate situation and larger social contexts influence the meanings that people find in stories, rituals, or films? How do people engage with the images and sounds of a performance to make them come alive in sensuous, lived experience? Exploring these questions, Stance presents a major new theory of emotion, style, and meaning for the study of expressive culture. In clear language, the book reveals dimensions of lived experience that everyone is aware of but that scholars rarely account for.

Though music is at the heart of the book, its arguments are illustrated with a wide range of clear examples--from the heavy metal concert to the recital hall, from festivals to dance, stand-up comedy, the movies, and beyond. Helping ethnographers get closer to the experiences of the people with whom they work, this book will be of immediate interest to anyone in ethnomusicology, folklore, popular music studies, anthropology, or performance studies.

Published by: Wesleyan University Press

Series: Music Culture

Stance: Ideas About Emotion, Style, and Meaning for the Study of Expressive Culture


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pp. -

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Preface: What Phenomenology Can Do for the Study of Expressive Culture

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pp. vii-ix

Phenomenology is a broad and complex scholarly tradition that has the capacity to transform the ways in which scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences do their work. While recent years have seen an increasing...

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pp. xxi-

In writing this book, I have benefited from the stimulating conversation and friendship of more than a few good colleagues. First, I must thank Chris Menzel, a philosopher whose kindness, keen mind, and open-hearted spirit have never failed to inspire me...

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1. Locating Stance

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pp. 1-26

This book grew out of my long-standing dissatisfaction with a certain type of aesthetic explanation that is common in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. In a wide range of fields, scholars frequently explain the..

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2. Structures of Stance in Lived Experience

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pp. 27-53

At first glance, applying the notion of stance to particular research situations might seem to be a straightforward proposition. To attend to stance would be to attend to the styles with which composers compose, arrangers...

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3. Stance and Others, Stance and Lives

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pp. 54-96

Examining the basic dynamics of stance, the previous chapter revealed some specific ways in which stance is tied to its social context. For example, the act character of stance, the emergence of facet stances...

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4. The Social Life of Stance and the Politics of Expressive Culture

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pp. 97-136

We encounter an incredible variety of things in our lives: physical objects, texts, rules, moods, our own bodies, other people. The diversity is vast and it can seem overwhelming. The foundational insight of Husserl’s phenomenology is that no matter how varied are the things that we encounter of our experiences. That structure is ...

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pp. 137-152

1. The term expressive culture is used by scholars in a wide range of disciplines to refer to any type of social behavior with an aesthetic dimension. This includes genres traditionally studied in the humanities such as music, dance, theater, and painting, but also everyday forms of aesthetic practice like storytelling, jokes, dress, graffiti, and ritual...

Works Cited

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pp. 153-158


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pp. 159-167

E-ISBN-13: 9780819569998
Print-ISBN-13: 9780819568779

Page Count: 200
Publication Year: 2009

Series Title: Music Culture
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OCLC Number: 726747949
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Stance