Editorial Introduction: El Sistema in Critical Perspective

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The Venezuelan youth orchestra network El Sistema is one of the largest and most famous music education programs in the world, and it has spread to dozens of countries, yet it has received relatively little academic scrutiny. This editorial introduction frames a conference, “El Sistema and the Alternatives: Social Action through Music in Critical Perspective,” which was organized in April 2015 to address this lacuna. The editorial explores three themes that ran through the conference papers: history, social justice, and politics (in particular, poverty, inequality, and neoliberalism). It then introduces the six articles in this special issue, based on papers from the conference. These articles shine a critical light not only on Venezuela but also on the global spread of the Sistema model, examining developments in the US, Scotland, England, Costa Rica, and Sweden. The editorial concludes with a critical summary of the issues raised by El Sistema.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-32
Number of pages23
JournalAction, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

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