Doublespeak in higher music education in England

Culture, marketisation, and democracy

Authored by: Gareth Dylan Smith

The Routledge Handbook to Sociology of Music Education

Print publication date:  March  2021
Online publication date:  March  2021

Print ISBN: 9781138586369
eBook ISBN: 9780429504631
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter focuses on inconsistencies in UK government rhetoric regarding music and the values accorded to it as articulated through policies on culture and higher education. Framing these incongruities as intentional ‘doublespeak’, the author describes systematic efforts to diminish opportunities for popular musicians at the grassroots level, while access to higher popular music education dramatically expands. These all take place in the context of a society guided by an aggressive individualist, neoliberal ideology, driven by successive national governments who on the one hand urge creators and artists in popular cultural domains to strive for success as entrepreneurs, while on the other they channel huge amounts of public funding away from popular culture and into ‘high’ cultural forms such as ballet and opera. The author proposes a critical punk perspective that might empower musicians and educators to challenge dominant ideology in the hope of working collectively toward a more democratic, compassionate world.

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