Youngstown State University
Received Date: October 23, 2015 Accepted Date: October 27, 2015 Published Date: October 30, 2015
Citation: Ulusoy E (2015) Music Consumption as a Therapeutic Process: Subcultures at the Convergence of Affective, Cognitive, and Conative Conditions. J Biomusic Eng 3:109. doi:10.4172/2090-2719.1000109
Copyright: © 2015 Ulusoy E. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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This opinion article aims to highlight the critical role music consumption may play both at the individual and subcultural level simultaneously: it provides a means through which consumers enter into a therapeutic process that may culminate into the convergence of cognitive, affective, and conative conditions. Contrary to prior studies that concentrate on such conditions, largely in a mutually exclusive manner, this article aims to pave the way for a more holistic picture that may help us have a complex comprehension of the multifaceted music consumption phenomenon.
Music consumption is a therapeutic process that holds a potential to transform the self and to improve consumer psychological and social well-being. Through music subcultural meanings may circulate as they are embedded in, and fostered through, certain styles, sounds, images, and discourses. Music provides a means through which affective, cognitive, and conative conditions converge and represent a dynamic interplay within subcultural spheres. Music in such contexts elicits strong emotional reactions and works as a catalyst for satisfying consumers’ affective needs that are largely unmet in their everyday lives. Music in the antithetical subcultural context work catalyst for channeling their frustration and alienation caused by their discontentment with the dominant social institutions of contemporary society into productive, creative, and expressive modes of release and discharge for emancipatory and transformative experiences. In other words, such frustrations engender the feelings of anger and resentment which, in turn, find a voice in the cultural codes of much subcultural music. Whilst music via style, sound, beat, dance, discourse and praxis encodes these affective codes and thus captures the attention of emotionally disrupted individuals, it facilitates the process of drawing these individuals into music subcultures. In that, music subcultures are venues where consumers can express their selves and emotions, discharge their frustrations, ameliorate their sense of alienation, and develop alternative collective experiences and consciousness with other participants. Music consumption is therefore therapeutic in the sense that it offers consumers redemptive values and generates an impulse for recreation praxis that can be actualized in everyday life.
The affective codes that are embedded in music subcultures pave way to cognitive foundations. The more engaged consumers are with music subcultures, the more they learn about the ideals, ethos, and value systems of these collectives and thus develop cognitive foundations with respect to the codes, signs, symbols, and meanings converge into the ontology of subcultures as well as that of the perceived conception of mainstream culture. In other words, consumers’ high involvement with the music subcultures results in them committing to subcultural attitudes and internalizing greatly the value systems and ideals of music subcultures. In that, music subcultures perceived to be antithetical offer not only the means for constructing collective memory and experiences, but also resistant qualities and identities. Music subcultures provide a venue as an alternative learning site where consumers start to learn about social causes, socio-cultural conditions and problems, and political realities and to question the status quo and seek alternative ways of living and being.
Cognitive foundations formed as a result of internalization forge the conative aspects of music subcultures. Learning about alternative and relatively radical ideas and developing sympathy for alternative modes of living and social and economic orders incite consumers to incorporate activist identities into their subjective identities for broader social and cultural change. Thus, they also enrich their fragmented subcultural subject positions and experiences as they construct and work their identity projects. Eventually, this awareness and socially active identity they develop in this process tend to render them more active in broader social and cultural issues and thus mobilize them in partaking in social movements with a subcultural activist role. In other words, whilst consumers pursue personal empowerment and constantly work on their dynamic, fluid and fragmented subcultural subject positions, they also pursue interest in bringing about broader social and cultural change.
Consequently, the significance of music and its potential in forming social relationships and developing and converging affective, cognitive and conative conditions is apparent. Thus, the objective to explore and understand this complex reality embedded in various aspects of music via multiperspectival and multidisciplinary accounts are nothing but a necessary and a virtuous pursuit.