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date: 19 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter takes as its starting point notions of music making as ethical encounter (Bowman, 2001) and as the exercise of hospitality (Higgins, 2007) in order to explore what ethical practice in music education might look like, through the philosophical writings of Emmanuel Levinas. It puts into question discourses of performativity, which may be understood as constraining and narrowing what we think of as “musical knowing” in the classroom. Thinking tools drawn from Levinas’s first major work, Totality and Infinity (1969), include notions of “practices of facing” and of “putting a world in common.” This conceptual lens enables an investigation of what it might mean for assessment in music education if we embraced Levinas’s radical openness—the breaking in of “infinity” into “totalizing” practices—bringing to light processes of music making, not simply the musical product, as well as the uniqueness of each pupil’s music making in relationship to others and to the Other, and capturing rich learning in the music classroom.

Keywords: Emmanuel Levinas, ethical encounter, ethical knowing, practices of facing, performativity

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