Senior lecturer wins national book prize for sociological study of classical music

A Senior Lecturer in Sociology from the University of Portsmouth is the joint winner of a national award for her recent book about social class and classical music education. Dr Anna Bull was recognised by the British Sociological Association prize committee for her book ‘Class, Control and Classical Music’, published last year by Oxford University Press.

The book asks why classical music is predominantly played by the white middle classes in the UK. Drawing on her own background as a professional classical musician and music educator, Dr Bull introduces a new approach for cultural analysis of classical music. She explores how music education institutions and practices are shaped by wider conditions of economic inequality and asks how music might reproduce these inequalities or work against them.

Anna takes us deep into this empirical field and yet also marshals us through a sophisticated range of theoretical analysis that turns the book into a compelling page turner.

Susan Halford , BSA President

The judging panel chose Dr Bull’s book as one of two winners of the 2020 Philip Abrams Memorial Award. One of the judges praised Dr Bull’s work and said it “demonstrated the very best in sociology”. BSA President, Susan Halford said: “As a trained musician herself, Anna takes us deep into this empirical field and yet also marshals us through a sophisticated range of theoretical analysis that turns the book into a compelling page turner.”

Sociological thinking is now needed more than ever and I know that the research that is being carried out by sociologists here at Portsmouth is helping to make sense of social inequalities at this time of change and uncertainty.

Anna Bull , Senior Lecturer in Sociology , University of Portsmouth’s

Anna Bull is Senior Lecturer in Sociology in the University of Portsmouth’s School of Education and Sociology.  Her current research interests include class and gender inequalities in classical music education and staff sexual misconduct in higher education.

Dr Bull says: "I am utterly thrilled and honoured to receive this award from the British Sociological Association. It is testament to the strong intellectual community provided by the sociology team here at the University of Portsmouth that it is being recognised as a leading book within the discipline. Sociological thinking is now needed more than ever and I know that the research that is being carried out by sociologists here at Portsmouth is helping to make sense of social inequalities at this time of change and uncertainty."

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