Document Type


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Faculty of Music


This article traces the formation of community music through professional and scholarly articles over the last century in North America, and argues that community music has been discursively formed through social rationales, although the specific rationales have shifted. The author employs an archaeological framework inspired by Michel Foucault to analyze the usage and contexts of the term ‘community music’ in four historical moments, including Progressive-Era manuals and guidebooks, mid-century articles in the Music Educators’ Journal, writings of the Community Music Activity Commission established by the International Society of Music Education from 1982, and articles in the International Journal of Community Music. The author concludes that community music’s social rationales have discursively produced a social rationality, which has largely overdetermined community music as an educational enterprise, while historically underdetermining what specifically constitutes the ‘community’ of community music.