The (Im)possibility of Inclusion
Reimagining the Potentials of Democratic Inclusion in and through Activist Music Education
Studia Musica 72 This dissertation examines inclusion as an ambiguous concept and practice within the context of music education in Finland. It builds upon four sub-studies, which are reported in international, refereed journal articles and are also comprised in this book. The sub-studies focus on the Resonaari music school which promotes inclusive and accessible music education within the Finnish music school system. The first sub-study presented the case of six female older adults who construct their musical agency within a rock band context at Resonaari, examining the wider meanings assigned to rock band music learning with regard to personal empowerment and a deepened understanding of aging. The second sub-study examined how teacher activism is enacted at Resonaari through innovative pedagogical practices, ethical commitment, and flexible policy advocacy. The third sub-study investigated student music teachers’ reflections upon workshops run by Resonaari’s musicians, aiming to expand the discourse on professionalism by addressing disability as a generative notion for diversity within higher music education. The fourth sub-study presents the researcher’s self-reflexive narrative of striving toward activist scholarship during the research project. Drawing upon the pragmatist framework of John Dewey’s philosophy of educational democracy and moral imagination, complexity theories, and Gert Biesta’s conceptualization of democratic inclusion, it is argued here that there is a continuing need to challenge the understandings and discourses of inclusion through extending the scope of transformational activism within music education.