Non-denominational church as fertile soil : Learning and social capital in higher music education
, Johan Söderman
Issues of social environment and its impact on educational choices have been discussed in different contexts, and may have both exclusive and inclusive implications. When it comes to higher music education in Sweden, the non-denominational church is such an environment. Our hypothesis is that students and staff within Swedish musical academies have a background from the non-denominational church. Important questions in this context are: what standards arise? Who is allowed access? For this reason, it is important for general education research and music educational research to gain knowledge about the learning that takes place in such educational environments and to investigate how social capital is formed in non-denominational churches whose members pursue higher music education. The overall aim of this paper is to gain a better understanding of the social environments that seem to foster a certain type of learning and enhances building social capital. Methodologically this paper consists both of quantitative as well as qualitative method. The quantitative method is based on the Swedish SOM Institute survey and the results from SOM 2010 and will analyze the correlation between activity in the non-denominational church and music activities. The qualitative method is based on semi-structured focus group interviews with participants (students / staff) from the music education at Lund University. The interviews aim to answer the question how musical learning and social capital is formed in the non-denominational church. Furthermore, by using focus group interviews, we want the informants to discuss the pathway, which has led them to the Academy of Music. In addition, we also intend to have discussions about the learning that has taken place within the frame of non-denominational churches. These two studies are built on each other, utilizing quantitative and qualitative method, which is the strength of a mixed methods approach. As a theoretical framework, sociologist Pierre Bourdieu’s capital and field theories are useful. According to Bourdieu, social capital is one of several different forms of capital, which are linked to relationships in various forms. By using the concept of capital we show that relationships have a value in itself. According to Bourdieu, the formation of social capital may be seen as a deliberate investment. The concept of field is defined as a place for games, a place of objective relations between individuals or institutions in competition over the same object. According to Bourdieu, social interaction can only be understood from the field from which it is performed. We believe this study has Scandinavian relevance and that it may inspire similar studies in other Nordic countries.