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Music Technology, Gender, and Class: Digitization, Educational and Social Change in Britain


Music technology undergraduate degree programmes are a relatively new phenomenon in British higher education, situated at the intersection of music, digital technologies, and sound art. Such degrees have exploded in popularity over the past fifteen years. Yet the social and cultural ramifications of this development have not yet been analysed. In looking comparatively at the demographics of both traditional music and music technology degrees, we highlight a striking bifurcation: traditional music degrees draw students with higher social class profiles than the British national averages, while their gender profile matches the wider student population; music technology degrees, by contrast, are overwhelmingly male and lower in terms of social class profile. We set these findings into analytical dialogue with wider historical processes, offering divergent interpretations of our findings in relation to a series of musical, technological, educational, social, political, and cultural-institutional developments in the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We ask what such developments bode for future relations between music, gender, and class in the UK.

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