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Destined for Greatness: Passions, Dreams, and Aspirations in a College Music Town

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Abstract

Pursuing the dream of a musical vocation-particularly in rock music-is typically regarded as an adolescent pipedream. Music is marked as an appropriate leisure activity, but one that should be discarded upon entering adulthood. How then do many men and women aspire to forge careers in music upon entering adulthood? In Destined for Greatness, sociologist Michael Ramirez examines the lives of forty-eight independent rock musicians who seek out such non-normative choices in a college town renowned for its music scene. He explores the rich life course trajectories of women and men to explore the extent to which pathways are structured to allow some, but not all, individuals to fashion careers in music worlds. Ramirez suggests a more nuanced understanding of factors that enable the pursuit of musical livelihoods well into adulthood.
... From the early and seminal works of Faulkner (1971), Bennett (2017Bennett ( [1980), Finnegan (2007Finnegan ( [1989) and Cohen (1991) onwards, how musicians work and how their labour is defined and valued has been an area of academic focus. Since the turn of the century there has been an increasing emphasis on musicians' creative labour (Banks, 2010;Gable, 2018;Hesmondhalgh and Baker, 2011;O'Sullivan, 2016;Stahl, 2013;Thompson, 2019;Ramirez, 2018). Important debates have emerged as to whether or not musicians actually work (Frith, 2016) and the expanding expectations of what music makers have to do (Hracs, 2012;Taylor, 2016), as well as various attempts to define and quantify their labour (Bataille and de Brabandère, 2019;Umney and Kretsos, 2014;Umney, 2016). ...
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