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Music and Conventions: Grasping Qualities of an Elusive and Changing Object

Guy Schwegler & Jonathan Kropf (2024)

In Rainer Diaz-Bone & Guillemette de Larquier (eds.), Handbook of economics and sociology of conventions. Cham: Springer, Online first

Abstract. Cultural production and music in particular have become burgeoning subjects for researchers applying the approach of economics and sociology of conventions (EC/SC). This chapter aims to provide an overview of the literature that analyzes different aspects of music through EC/SC concepts. The two notions of conventions and intermediation and their application to the subject offer an entry point for this overview. They represent both established concepts within the neopragmatist approach and are common in two theoretical positions regularly featured in research on music (the actor-network theory and Howard Becker’s art worlds perspective). Then, the chapter moves beyond these two notions to introduce studies that are characterized by the use of a combination of different EC/SC concepts. Ultimately, the discussion in this chapter shows a large scope of work on the subject. However, the different authors still do not represent a “field” of EC/SC music scholars. While some reasons for the absence of such a field are brought forward, the chapter also argues that there may be no necessity to move toward one.

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