The Sociological Norming Of Members' Concepts Of "Violent Music"
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The purpose of this project was to provide a symbolic interactionist context for an interdisciplinary study of cardiovascular psychophysiological responses to violent music. The study involves an interdisciplinary team of psychological, criminal justice, and sociological researchers. The goal of the study was to examine the mediating effects of mindfulness meditation on the cardiovascular psychophysiological effects of violent music. The sociological component of this study was the assembly of an inventory of popular music songs that are perceived and defined by audience members as “violent music.” Following the dictates of symbolic interaction, we see songs as social objects and interactionist accomplishments. Using Tia DeNora’s conceptual framework, this project will use a contextualist approach to understanding music given that music does not have intrinsic meaning. We seek to discover how audience members define certain songs in particular situations and in the presence of certain others. My analysis was based upon a series of questionnaires administered to university freshmen. These questionnaires included items regarding formal music training, religious affiliation, combat experience, and respondent’s opinions of what a violent song is and why they perceive it as such. The popular music genres that emerged from my study as significant include Screamo, Death Metal, Powerviolence, Post Hardcore, and Deathcore. The songs that emerge from this phase of the study will be used to stimulate cardiovascular psychophysiological responses to be measured by means of heart rate variance (HRV) procedures, and mindfulness meditation will be a moderator to the impact of music on heart rate. We are contributing to the scholarly debate over the nature of violent music, moving beyond structuralist definitions of violent music in terms of lyrics, sound, dissonance, and consonance to a more interactionist friendly definition of violent music as situational and meaningful.