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Utilising Popular Music to Teach Introductory and General Education Political Science Classes

Abstract

Popular music can be used to encourage active political discussions, increase understanding of political concepts and encourage student-centred learning on subjects with which students may unwittingly already be familiar via their iPods™. While some faculty may already be using music in the domestic political context, music can also be utilised in international and comparative political science classes as well. This article suggests that music and politics can be evaluated in four approaches: Music as ‘cause or outcome’ of political processes, music as ‘mirror’ revealing what we already believe about politics being reflected back to us, music as ‘data’ as the music itself, or the manner in which music is consumed, affects how an audience interprets and responds to it and, lastly, music as ‘constitutive’, in that, music constitutes norms, values and identities. This article suggests that students actually do become more engaged and have a better understanding of political concepts through the use of music in the classroom. The article also provides some useful advice for utilising music in the classroom to increase student engagement, critical thinking and better understanding of topics covered in class.

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hawn, h. Utilising Popular Music to Teach Introductory and General Education Political Science Classes. Eur Polit Sci 12, 522–534 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1057/eps.2013.37

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/eps.2013.37

Keywords

  • music
  • student engagement
  • politics
  • popular media