Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School

Teacher Education

First Advisor

Christopher Robbins

Second Advisor

Linda Lewis-White

Third Advisor

Wendy Burke


The education of an individual occurs in a multitude of places, including one’s cultural context. The interactions one has with cultural artifacts, such as music, can impact how individuals interact with larger social movements, power structures, and self-identification. As outlined by Giroux (2006) the meaningful integration of agency and critical cultural analysis are essential to critical engagement in citizens and is generally lacking within secondary and post-secondary curriculum. The goal of this study is to assess the engagement practices and experiences individuals have with popular culture, specifically music, and the relation these interactions have to individual, social, and political agency. Utilizing an online, anonymous survey, individuals within the 18-24 demographic will outline their current buying habits, motivations, preferences, and interactions with music and its surrounding industry. These results will be analyzed by integrating theory and research regarding cultural and critical studies, various pedagogical approaches to literacy, and popular music studies to better understand the interactions the participants have with their cultural reality. The intended goal will be to reflect potential current levels of political engagement, public discourse, agency, and listening trends within the larger sample size and by demographic such as race and education level. These results will suggest current critical practices in those who have recently left the K-12 education system and suggest further steps to maintain or increase said practices.

Included in

Education Commons