UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The growth and contributions of bridging social capital to rural vitality via school-community music education partnerships Prest, Anita L.


Many rural communities in British Columbia, Canada, currently face social problems associated with boom and bust resource development, economic decline due to increased urbanization, and intercultural barriers between ethnic groups. In such settings, school music programs are often limited in scope or non-existent. Yet, in at least one rural community that undertook a school-community music education partnership, that partnership positively influenced community identity, agency, and vitality and brought greater recognition and support to its school music program. My purposes in this study were to investigate how three such partnerships have contributed to the social, cultural, and economic sustainability of their communities and to learn how they may have served to shift community members’ conceptions of the value of music and music education. For this multiple case study of Powell River, Nelson, and Qualicum Beach, British Columbia, I examined school and municipal historical records and conducted interviews with individual community members and school staff to determine the circumstances that made possible their partnerships. I spoke with focus groups comprising partnership committee members to learn how the dynamic and structural properties of the partnership networks have impacted the ways in which social capital functions in them. Finally, I conducted 6-8 semistructured interviews at each site with key community members to elicit their conceptions of changes over time regarding 1) identity, agency, and vitality, and 2) attitudes toward and scope of musical engagement inside and outside of their schools. I found that partnerships that promoted local attributes, high levels of community engagement, and a physical commons fostered social capital and provided more opportunities for community members to address local social justice issues (e.g., equitable access to music education, cultural inclusion), drawing upon shared values as bases for resolving those issues. I also found that reciprocity gives rise to social capital only when, in addition to a simple exchange, it entails a sincere recognition of efforts (e.g., moving beyond traditional rational actor or habitual conceptions). The bridging social capital emerging from these partnerships contributed significantly to vitality in these three communities, also favourably shifting community conceptions of the value of music education.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada