95887 - Sociology of Music (1) (LM)

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Docente: Marco Santoro
  • Credits:: 6
  • SSD: L-ART/07
  • Language: Italian
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Music and Theatre Studies (cod. 8837)

Learning outcomes

The student will learn: - the essential tools of sociology and social research useful for the study of social processes of sound/music production, consumption, evaluation and classification; - more specifically, she will know the main sociological concepts, theories, models for the analysis of music production and reception, as well as for the social and cultural interpretation of sound and musical objects, in their diversified esthetical and institutional forms; - she will be able to apply these tools in order to understand real processes of production, circulation, evaluation and consumption of music objects and music genres, and to critically read and design empirical researches on music social worlds.

Course contents

The course will focus on central issues in music sociology as:

- the history of the musical canon

- forms of genre classifications

- taste stratification and social exclusion

- production and consumption

- the politics of musical reputation

- music’s ‘active’ properties in relation to social action, emotion and cognition.

Its perspective goes beyond the old 'music and society’ paradigm (one in which music was typically read as distanced from and ‘reflecting’ social structure) and points to core concerns in sociology writ large as social agency, identity formation, group creativity, cultural hegemony, distinction and social organization.


  1. The Routledge Reader on the Sociology of Music, a cura di John Shepherd, Kyle Devine, London, Routledge 2015, Introduction + sections 1-3 (= pp. 1-254).
  2. Marco Santoro,'What is a “cantautore?” Distinction and authorship in Italian (popular) music,' Poetics, Volume 30, Issues 1–2, 2002, Pages 111-132,https://doi.org/10.1016/S0304-422X(02)00002-5. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304422X02000025)
  3. M. Santoro, 'Constructing an artistic field as a political project: Lessons from La Scala,' Poetics, Volume 38, Issue 6, 2010, Pages 534-554, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.poetic.2010.10.001.(https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304422X10000616)


Teaching methods

Lectures with classroom research simulations and moments of seminar discussion

Assessment methods

Oral exam (it normally consists of 3 questions on topics of the course and in any case on texts in the program)

Teaching tools

Texts in pdf format uploaded on the online platform of the course; teaching support videos; course slides (available at the end of the lessons)

Office hours

See the website of Marco Santoro