Connecting sounds

The social life of music

By Nick Crossley

Connecting sounds


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-2603-0
  • Pages: 224
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £19.99
  • Published Date: December 2019
  • BIC Category: Sociology, Sociology, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General, MUSIC / General, Society & social sciences / Popular culture, The arts / Music, Society & social sciences / Sociology


Crossley argues that music is a form of social interaction, interwoven in the fabric of society and in constant interplay with its other threads. Musical interactions are often also economic interactions, for example, and sometimes political interactions. They can be forms of identity work, for both individuals and collectives, contributing to the reproduction or bridging of social divisions. Successive chapters of the book track and explore these interplays, in each case combining a critical consideration of existing literature with the development of an original, 'relational' approach to music sociology. The result is a grand sociological vision of music which captures not only music's context but 'the music itself'. The book will appeal to social scientists, musicologists and cultural scholars more widely.


'Focusing primarily on popular music, Crossley (sociology, Univ. of Manchester, UK) provides an in-depth study of music's place in the social world. In investigating this matter, he shows the relationship to be far more complex than people involved with music might suppose. He explores his concept of what he terms "music worlds," drawing on and critiquing ideas from fields such as relational sociology and semiotics as well as music-specific fields. He makes significant use of Christopher Small's term "musicking" as he seeks to define music and explain how various types of music function in, influence, and are influenced by society. The nine chapters provide detailed discussions of topics such as music as social interaction, music's economic aspects, definitions of mainstream and alternative music, social networking involving music, meaning in music, societal forces influencing musical taste, and societal diversity and politics in musical genres. Although Crossley names musical artists and pieces of music in his discussions, he does not provide musical analysis. This scholarly and meticulously documented work is best suited to specialists in sociology, sociology of music, and cultural studies.' (Reprinted with permission from Choice Reviews. All rights reserved. Copyright by the American Library Association.)
D. Arnold, University of North Texas


1 Introduction
2 Music as Social Interaction: Embedded, Embodied and Multivalent
3 Economic Interactions: Capitalism, Industry and the Mainstream
4 Mainstream and Beyond: The Musical Universe and its Worlds
5 Musicking Networks: Nodes, Ties and Worlds
6 Semiotic Interactions: Meaning, Communication and Affect
7 Practical Interactions: Use, Taste, Identity
8 Division, Inequality and Taste: Musicking in Social Space
9 Political Interactions: Publics, Protest and the Avant-Garde


Nick Crossley is Professor of Sociology and co-founder/co-director of the Mitchell Centre for Social Network Analysis at the University of Manchester

Newsletter Sign Up

Manchester University Press

Your cart is empty.

Select your shipping destination to estimate postage costs

(Based on standard shipping costs)

Final cost calculated on checkout
Promotional codes can be added on Checkout