Two assemblages of cultural transmission: musicians, political actors and educational techniques in the Ottoman Empire and Western Europe
Journal of Historical Sociology
Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
343 - 371
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In this study I aim to develop a sociological understanding of why certain techniques of cultural transmission are more easily accepted in some societies than in others. With this aim in mind, I present a comparative analysis of the contrasting approaches to music education in Western Europe and the Ottoman Empire. While, as a major technique of cultural transmission music notation found relatively widespread acceptance in Western Europe at least since the eleventh century onwards, most musicians in the Ottoman Empire resisted its adoption until the end of the nineteenth century. The analysis focuses on the ways in which the choices of Ottoman and West European musicians interacted with broader social and political processes in the two societies. In the light of this analysis, it is suggested that technologies used in cultural transmission can be seen as parts of a broader assemblage and their rejection or acceptance can be conditioned by a series of socio-political concerns. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.