Capitalizing on community music: a case study of the manifestation of social capital in a community choir

Thomas W. Langston, Margaret S. Barrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


There is an extensive literature on social capital and its generation and use in communities, but less is known about the ways in which social capital is manifested in community music settings. The literature suggests that social capital is evidenced through a range of 'indicators', including trust, community and civic involvement, and networks. This article reports the findings of a research project that examined the manifestation of social capital in a community choir in regional Tasmania. The study employed multiple data-generation methods including survey, field notes, and artefact-elicited, semi-structured interviews in a qualitative interpretive case study design. An analysis of narrative approach was used to interrogate data generated with the 27 members (the Tutti) of the 'Milton' Community Choir, and to identify those social capital indicators present. Through analyses of these data, findings suggest that the social capital indicators identified in the literature, specifically those of shared norms and values, trust, civic and community involvement, networks, knowledge resources, and contact with families and friends are present in the community choir. Further, a previously unemphasized social capital indicator, that of fellowship, is identified as a key component in fostering group cohesion and social capital development in the community choir.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-138
Number of pages21
JournalResearch Studies in Music Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Analysis of narratives
  • Artefact elicitation
  • Case study
  • Fellowship
  • Qualitative
  • Semi-structured interviews
  • Social capital indicators

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