Vocalising Gender and Class

  • Clare Hall
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Gender and Education book series (GED)


Through a close reading of the boys’ stories of being ‘different’, the way gender and class elide in the making of their particular musical habitus is discussed in this chapter. The argument is developed that the musical tastes, knowledge and skills of the choirboys delineate their symbolic distinction as bearers of legitimate culture, which enables them to counter the dominant cultural narrative that this type of singing is ‘feminine’. What inhabitants of this field share is an investment in a ‘well-rounded’ intellectual, physical and aesthetic education, and I argue that this is the crux of the choirboys’ middle-class power. I make an analogy between the cultivated bodily dispositions of the choirboy and the polymath of the classical Greek world. How the choirboys profit from reproducing old cultural narratives in new ways provides a rarely seen, close-up view of the operations of habitus in children’s everyday lives.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clare Hall
    • 1
  1. 1.Monash UniversityFrankstonAustralia

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