Culture-Centered Music Therapy

  • Culture-Centered Music Therapy
  • Author: Stige, Brynjulf
  • ISBN: 9781891278143
  • E-ISBN: 9781891278839

Humans cannot escape culture. Culture provides the tools humans need to deal with the challenges of everyday life and with the symbolic artifacts they depend upon to communicate and construct their life histories. Culture thus permeates the personalities of therapists and clients, a fact that hardly has been given the attention it deserves in music therapy theory. Culture-Centered Music Therapy explores the implications of taking culture-inclusive perspectives for practice, theory, and research.

Part One outlines premises for the argument, examining basic concepts such as culture, humankind, meaning, “musicking,” and the nature-nurture debate.

Part Two highlights how culture-centered music therapy may be practiced. The scope varies from community music therapy (aimed in part on cultural change in the community), to ecological music therapy (focusing on communication at micro- and mesosystem levels), to individual music psychotherapy (considering the individual in cultural context).

In Part Three, implications for describing and understanding music therapy are discussed, including a chapter on how to define music therapy as practice, discipline, and profession. A culture-inclusive model of the music therapy process is also proposed.

Part Four suggests approaches to music therapy research within a culture-centered context. A call for increased reflexivity, the ability to reflect upon one’s social and cultural position, is at the heart of the discussion, along with a continuing theme of this book: the relations and tensions between local and more general perspectives on music therapy. (2002, ISBN 1-891278-14-2;$28).

Brynjulf Stige is the first Coordinator of the music therapy education program at Sogn og Fjordane University in Sandane, Norway, where he is an associate professor. With diverse experiences as a music therapist using a community based approach, Stige has written numerous articles and books on music therapy and music education. He is editor-in-chief of the Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, and co-editor (with Carolyn Kenny) of Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy.




Brief Contents Preface Foreword, by Kenneth E. Bruscia  

How Deep Is Culture?

Dialogic and Enactive Facets

Culture-Centered versus Ecological Music Therapy

Method of Writing

How to Read this Book



Part I: Premises

Chapter 1: Why Culture?  

A Very Brief History of the Concept of Culture

Toward an Integrated Conception of Humankind?

Culture and the Evolution of the Human Species (Phylogeny)

Cultural History

The Relevance of Cultural Psychology for Music Therapy

Culture Defined for Music Therapy

Culture-Centered Music Therapy



Chapter 2: Meanings


Meaning of Meaning in Music therapy

From Names to Moves in Language Games

Meaning Games

The Narrative Turn

The Aesthetic Dimension

Art and Values

Schizophonia and the Therapy Music Market

These People Just Cannot Sing Together

A Plurality of Polyphonic Practices


Chapter 3: The Power of Musicking  

Talking about Music

Defining Music

The Origins of Music


Music and Culture

Plurality of Musics

To Music

The Power of Musicking



Part II: Practices

Chapter 4: Community Music Therapy as Cultural Engagement  


Music Therapy as Cultural Engagement

Music Therapy, Health Promotion, and Cultural Life

A Note on Theory, Goals and Method

-May We Too Play in the Brass Band?

With Longing, Life, and Song!

Go Down, Moses

Some Consequences for Research and Ethics

Postscript: From Micro to Macro


Chapter 5: Ecological Music Therapy and Mediated Learning  


I dont Like Music

A Transactional and Ecological Perspective

Learning as Social Interaction

Music and Meaning as Social Interaction

The Story of Paul: The Assessment Process

Intervention through Consultation

Video Evaluation as Part of the Consultation Process

A Broader Concept of Music Therapy?

Postscript: The Concept of Ecology


Chapter 6: Hypertextuality in Individual Music Psychotherapy  


The Text Analogy in Music Therapy

Texts and Hypertexts

Hypertextuality in Music

Synopsis of a Year in Music Therapy

Talking about Music Therapy

Hypertextuality as a Meta-Metaphor

A Preceding Analogous Case?

Postscript: Hypertext Narratives



Part III: Implications

Chapter 7: Redefining Music Therapy  

But Is It Music Therapy?

Music and Health

Conceptual Levels in Defining Music Therapy

Folk Music Therapy

Music Therapy as Discipline and Profession

Music Therapy as Professional Practice

The Practice of Redefining Music Therapy


Chapter 8: A Model of the Music Therapy Process  

Situated Practice

Shared Components in Music Therapy Practices

Health Musicking

Client and Therapist Learning in Relationship

Roles and Relationships

Rituals and Rationales

Communitas in Context

Reflexivity in Action


Chapter 9: New Arenas and Agendas  

Areas and Eras of Music Therapy

Target and Time of Intervention

Local Links

Shared Agenda?

Metaphors to Work By

Postcolonial Beginnings

Ethics of Culturally Informed Empathy



Part IV: Investigations

Chapter 10: Ethnographically Informed Clinical Research  

Clinical Research


Ethnographic Research Techniques

The Researcher in the Field

Thick Description

The Representation Crisis

Writing as Dialogic Aspect Seeing

Interacting Voices


Chapter 11: Participatory Action Research  

Research and Social Change

Pioneers of Action Research

The Legacy of Critical Theory

Contemporary Trends in Action Research

Music Therapy: A Case of Fiddling while the World Burns?

The Process of Doing Participatory Action Research

The Problem of Participation


Chapter 12: Toward a Third Culture of Music Therapy Research?  

The Two Cultures

Science and Success

The Hermeneutic Challenge

Peaceful Coexistence?

Research and Reflexivity

A Third Culture?



Drapetomania and other Peculiarities

Cultural Sensitivity


Glossary References Author Index