The man and his music: Gender representation, cultural capital and the Irish traditional music canon
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Commins, Verena. (2021). The man and his music : Gender representation, cultural capital and the Irish traditional music canon. Ethnomusicology Ireland, 7, 49-60.
Through a re-examination of canonical Irish traditional music texts and the music-making spaces and practices these inform, this paper proposes that Irish traditional music, as social practice, has normalised hegemonic power structures and relationships, and further, finds that these texts consolidate gender bias, prejudice and discrimination in ensuing practices. Power and authority inherent in music practices and linked to cultural identity and status are a significant form of cultural capital, revealing, amongst other things the complexity of relations between gender symbolism, gendered social organisation and the diversity of gendered dispositions in society. Restrictions to cultural capital accumulation created by gender inequality in the performance and documentation of Irish traditional music practice is highlighted and Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of cultural capital is employed to address ongoing social implications of the reproduction of gender inequality in Irish traditional music practice.