Author: Ole Izard Høyer
Title: "Defining Jazz Revisited -- Taking a Social Constructionist Approach to the Characterisation of Jazz"
This article reconsiders the definition of jazz as a case study in relation to how a musical genre is constituted through narratives of culture and identity in musical culture. Rethinking the definition of jazz as a way of characterisation through a social constructionist approach, this article will provide a discussion of the academic literature of jazz and how jazz has been characterised throughout history in an American context. The discussion presented is divided into three sections. First, a short outline of the term 'jazz' and its origin. Second, providing a historiography of how literature has defined jazz through time with a thematization on different aspects of the nature of jazz and genre. Here jazz culture is discussed in relation to American cultural heritage, setting the focus on the relationship between multiple discourses of jazz through history. Finally, this article discusses the concept of jazz from a social constructionist perspective and examines how constructions of a genre formation of jazz are characterised by ideas about the social. It is argued that 'characterisations of jazz' are central to such genre-definitions and are as tightly bound to social context as they are to attributes of music.