Disability, music education and the epistemology of interdisciplinarity

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A fully realized disability studies (DS) of music is interdisciplinary, qualitative and accessible through common discourse, without jargon, disciplinary codes, or numerology. It embraces DS's social model theory, where 'disability' is the social construction of 'impairment,' analogous to the relationship between 'gender' and 'sex.' The interdisciplinary transcendence of forms and norms of individual fields is a scholarly/political stance consistent with liberatory DS goals. The recent emergence of music DS, with few precedents from traditional musicology/theory, has mandated greater interdisciplinarity, employing the full range of social and somatic scholarship, as well as popular culture references. The most critical issues in music DS are in education, beyond music-specific concerns, and best expressed qualitatively as individual and group narratives. The often covertly quantitative nature of music theory is outed as oppressive to people with disabilities and contrasted with the liberatory power of sharing stories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-132
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009


  • Disability
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Music education


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