Three Essays on Social Cognition in the Field of Jazz Music
Innis, Benjamin D. “Three Essays on Social Cognition in the Field of Jazz Music”, Boston College, 2022. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:109387.
Categories are persistent features of cultural fields and markets, used to delineate boundaries between different kinds of cultural products and cultural producers. Categories are dynamic social constructions, evolving over time as their constitutive practices and meanings change, through a variety of processes that scholars are still describing and unpacking. This dissertation explores, in three papers, the processes through which categories change over time in the context of the field of jazz music, describing mechanisms of category change and theorizing processes of category evolution and decline. The first paper (chapter two) examines the emergence of a novel subcategory of jazz, called bebop, in the mid-1940’s, and the changes to jazz consumption practices and category meanings that bebop’s emergence wrought. It contributes to the categorization literature by highlighting the role of consumption practices in shaping category meanings. The second paper (chapter three) examines the emergence of another subcategory, called jazz fusion, in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and unpacks gatekeeper responses to its emergence in the form of critical discourse, revealing how category gatekeepers codify category change by reordering their standards of value, quality, and category membership through their discourse. It contributes to the literature by showing how gatekeepers discursively modify categories as they make sense of new practices. The third paper (chapter 4) explores the processes through which subcategories are absorbed into broader umbrella categories, falling out of use even as their constitutive practices and meanings live on. This paper contributes to the literature by expanding our understanding of category decline. Overall, this dissertation contributes to literature on category dynamics and the practice turn in organization theory.