Listening as Religious Practice (Part Two) – Exploring Qualitative Data from an Empirical Study of the Cultural Habits of Music Fans
journal contributionposted on 06.05.2015, 08:43 by Clive Marsh, V. S. Roberts
This article analyses quantitative data from responses to open questions addressed by 231 musicusers in a 2009-10 survey. By coding and quantifying the data provided, the analysis enables the construction of four ‘acoustic axes’ (uplift-relax, inspiration-memory, energy-calm, joy/happiness-sad/sadness) which make direct use of respondent-initiated terminology, and which enable a means of mapping the activity which occurs for listeners in the affective space created in the listening process. Use of these axes in turn suggests, at a second level of analysis and interpretation, the construction of a musical-spiritual ‘social imaginary’ (Taylor) to grasp how music is being used and understood by the music-users themselves with respect to their selfunderstanding and life-commitments. It is concluded that whilst music-use cannot be termed religious/a religion or a form of spirituality in any direct or simplistic sense, there is evidence here of the seriousness and intensity with which listeners make use of their listening practices in the activity of meaning-making.