SMALL, JACKELYN (2023) The misfit of music in a higher education government institute for Emirati women: An ethnographic study exploring the pursuit of music as an activity in a conventional Islamic setting. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.
|PDF (Doctorate of Education Thesis) - Accepted Version|
People appear to have a natural disposition toward music. Although music’s presence is evident in all cultures, for many Muslims it not only lacks value as an activity, it is perceived to be incompatible with Islamic principles. This study investigates the complexity involved in navigating the clash of perceptions when engaging in music as an activity, especially within the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a traditional Muslim country.
The thesis examines a music club activity facilitated by the researcher, a non-Muslim instructor of English who is untrained in teaching music but has years of experience running extracurricular music activities. The club takes place in the women’s campus of a government higher education institution for UAE nationals and explores the music involvement of nine participants. Two of the participants were Western staff members - one male, one female - and the rest were Emirati female students.
This ethnographic study used semi-structured interviews and participant observations to explore the club members’ involvement with the activity over the space of an academic year. Of interest to this investigation were three aspects: first, the perceptions participants encountered towards music within the Muslim community; second, the factors contributing towards participants’ involvement in music activity even though they acknowledged its disapproval among Muslims and third, the experience club members encountered engaging in music as a collaborative pursuit.
Activity theory (AT), also known as cultural historical activity theory (CHAT), recognises the multifaceted nature of human action. It provided the analytical lens that could incorporate the complexities and challenges of a music activity in an Emirati context. However, AT has been criticised for giving greater focus to the culture and history associated with the activity itself and overlooking the cultural and historical factors impacting participants’ contribution to an activity. With its focus on the experience of club members collaborating to achieve the activity object of producing music, this study aims to add to activity theory as an area of knowledge. Most importantly given the polemical viewpoints held toward music and until recently its lack of presence for students aged over 13 years, there is a dearth of research in the area of music in the Emirati education system. This study will contribute to this under-represented field of academic knowledge.
|Item Type:||Thesis (Doctoral)|
|Award:||Doctor of Education|
|Keywords:||Cultural interaction, music disapproval, acknowledging preconceptions, activity theory, collaborative music, ethnographic study|
|Faculty and Department:||Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Education, School of|
|Copyright:||Copyright of this thesis is held by the author|
|Deposited On:||07 Mar 2023 08:16|