The power of music as a listening tool in social research is something that has been close to my heart over recent years. At times I wonder if it is almost too simple- using music as an interview tool is an easy, low resource way to open up conversations. It creates a bridge between listeners, promotes a flatter hierarchy and redistributes power in the interview space (see my infographic on benefits here). The researcher becomes a listener.
I am thrilled to see that music elicitation as a method has been picked up by Dr Amanda Holt in her new text book on ‘Family Criminology’. She dedicated a whole sub-section on arts based interview techniques and used my work as an example. The concept of family criminology is one that I really appreciate. It has been often the case in criminology that the focus is on individual offending patterns and on criminally responsible adults instead of looking to the wider familial context. In Holt’s book she looks at the impact of stigmatisation on family groups, families who engage in organised crime, abuse and violence within families. As we know in the domestic violence field, often the source of most risk to individuals of harm and murder lies within the confines of the ‘home’ environment. This book will be a valuable resource to those of us who focus on the private space and the relation to crime.