Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Disruption, dissonance and embodiment: Creativity, health and risk in music narratives

Daykin, Norma


Norma Daykin


This article explores notions of creativity, health and risk, drawing on interviews with freelance musicians in the UK. The social context of insecure music work is explored along with hegemonic discourses of creativity in which hedonism, risk and sacrifice are connected. The study draws on narrative analysis in order to examine responses to disruptions that affect creative work. It also explores ongoing accounts of dissonance in music work. The research builds on the new musicology in exploring the cultural basis of creative ideals: these extend beyond the arts to influence many areas of social life. It highlights the way in which the exercise of aesthetic judgements, including judgements about the self, serve to include and exclude particular identities, valuing and diminishing their contributions. The study also builds on sociological debates concerning the regulatory functions of reflexivity and body management in the context of late modernity. Here, strategies of embodiment are also seen in relation to empowerment as challenges to hegemonic notions of creativity. Finally, the research builds on methodological debates surrounding narrative analysis, adopting a sociological approach that emphasizes the particular context of music work and identifies core narratives that reveal connections between everyday experiences and deeper cultural processes.


Daykin, N. (2005). Disruption, dissonance and embodiment: Creativity, health and risk in music narratives. Health, 9(1), 67-87.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2005
Journal Health
Print ISSN 1363-4593
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 1
Pages 67-87
Keywords creativity, embodiment, health, music, narrative analysis, risk
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This paper draws on original research on musicians' illness narratives, combining a sociological understanding of identity with insights from critical musicology to challenge conventional notions of personal creativity. It has provided a new paradigm to guide further collaborative work on arts and health. It has led to a steady flow of invited international contributions, including to the European Science Foundation Workshop, Music and Health. The paper has also underpinned major funding success in the form of a NHS Estates and Development Directorate research award of £107,709.