Congratulations to Taylor Price, recipient of the 2020 Daniel G. Hill Prize for Best Graduate Paper in Sociology

PhD student Taylor Price recently won the 2020 Daniel G. Hill Prize for Best Graduate Paper in Sociology. This award is presented annually to an Ontario resident graduate student and is chosen on the basis of the quality of a paper published between July and June of the award year.

Taylor received the award for his paper, “Posthumous Consecration in Rock’s Legitimating Discourse” which was published in the June 2020 volume of Poetics. We featured his paper in an earlier article here. We have posted the abstract below and the full text of the article can be accessed through the Poetics website here.

Taylor is currently in enrolled in his fifth year in the Ph.D. program.  He received his BA and MA in sociology from Lakehead University.  He recently published a paper entitled “Cognition in Situations” in Symbolic Interaction which examines Blumer’s epistemological statements and the interactionist tradition more broadly to consider how dual process models of cognition could be applied to naturally occurring situations.  The paper can be found on the Symbolic Interaction website here.

Talyor’s supervisors are Dr. Shyon Baumann, Dr. Vanina Leschziner and Dr. Clayton Childress.  He is currently conducting participant-observation and interviews with songwriters, producers, and engineers. This project is designed to contribute theories of creativity and collaboration in sociology with recourse to naturalistic and ethnographic data.

Posthumous consecration in rock’s legitimating discourse
Poetics, Volume 80, June 2020
By Taylor Price

Abstract

This article advances the concept of posthumous consecration. I first draw on previous literature to demonstrate that posthumous reputations are important components of fields before conceptualizing a “posthumous” variant of cultural consecration and then adopting this concept in thematic and content analyses of rock album reviews. Through my analyses of 336 lifetime and posthumous album reviews, I find two salient discursive processes in the album review sections of rock magazines that follow in the wake of the death of a consecrated figure. First, critics revise the categorical boundaries spanned by rock artists after their deaths. I find striking patterns in how critics draw comparisons between rockers who made their recording debut either before or after 1975 that suggest the categorical membership(s) ascribed by critics to living and dead public figures in a cultural field are dependent on the degree of autonomy at the level of the field. I use this finding to develop the argument that death plays a critical role in how cultural fields achieve autonomy. Second, I find that irrespective of whether the field has a high or low degree of autonomy, critics ascribe coherence to an artist’s body of work to a much greater extent in reviews of posthumous offerings compared to reviews of lifetime offerings. I argue that coherence is highly valued within rock’s legitimating discourse and critics are more likely to attribute coherence to the works of deceased rock musicians which contributes to their symbolic advantage over their living counterparts.

Congratulations to Taylor Price, one of 25 finalists in SSHRC Storytellers Contest

Congratulations to PhD Candidate Taylor Price who recently learned that his submission to the SSHRC Storytellers Competition has been named one of the finalists for 2021. The annual SSHRC Storytellers Competition provides a venue for post-secondary students to showcase their SSHRC-funded research by presenting a 3 minute video or audoclip. The top 25 candidates receive a cash prize and the opportunity to present their research live at the Congress for the Social Sciences and Humanities. Due to covid-19, this year’s showcase will be postponed until 2021.

The twenty-five finalists cover a range of disciplines and highlight research from around the country. Taylor’s submission to the competition is a short video discussing his dissertation research which studies how songwriters are affected by the digital economy. Taylor produced this video in collaboration with AJ Astle from Roadhouse Productions (https://www.roadhouseproductions.ca/). Watch Taylor’s video here:

Ph.D. Candidate Taylor Price on “Posthumous Consecration in Rock’s Legitimating Discourse”

Taylor PricePh.D. candidate Taylor Price published an article in Poetics, entitled “Posthumous Consecration in Rock’s Legitimating Discourse.” The article advances the idea of posthumous consecration and analyzes lifetime and posthumous rock album reviews. His findings demonstrate that “death plays a critical role in how cultural fields achieve autonomy.” Price reveals that critics emphasize the coherence of a rock artist’s body of work more greatly in posthumous reviews compared to lifetime reviews, showing that coherence is greatly valued within rock’s legitimizing discourse and contributes to an artist’s symbolic value.

Taylor Price is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Sociology, University of Toronto. His main research interests lie in the sociology of cultural production. He is the process of completing his dissertation research on songs and songwriters in the digital age of music.

We have included the citation and abstract below. The full text of the article can be accessed through the Poetics here.

Price, Taylor. 2020. “Posthumous Consecration in Rock’s Legitimating Discourse.” Poetics 101431.

This article advances the concept of posthumous consecration. I first draw on previous literature to demonstrate that posthumous reputations are important components of fields before conceptualizing a “posthumous” variant of cultural consecration and then adopting this concept in thematic and content analyses of rock album reviews. Through my analyses of 336 lifetime and posthumous album reviews, I find two salient discursive processes in the album review sections of rock magazines that follow in the wake of the death of a consecrated figure. First, critics revise the categorical boundaries spanned by rock artists after their deaths. I find striking patterns in how critics draw comparisons between rockers who made their recording debut either before or after 1975 that suggest the categorical membership(s) ascribed by critics to living and dead public figures in a cultural field are dependent on the degree of autonomy at the level of the field. I use this finding to develop the argument that death plays a critical role in how cultural fields achieve autonomy. Second, I find that irrespective of whether the field has a high or low degree of autonomy, critics ascribe coherence to an artist’s body of work to a much greater extent in reviews of posthumous offerings compared to reviews of lifetime offerings. I argue that coherence is highly valued within rock’s legitimating discourse and critics are more likely to attribute coherence to the works of deceased rock musicians which contributes to their symbolic advantage over their living counterparts.

 

Sociology students win SSHRC funding for their research

SSHRC logoThis year, three of our PhD students received fellowships from SSHRC. This funding will provide them with support for one to four years. Although all students in the University of Toronto graduate programs have a guaranteed funding package, receiving a SSHRC fellowship provides additional funding and allows them reduce the number of hours devoted to teaching and research assistantships so that they can focus on their dissertation research. All of our PhD students apply for external funding and receive training in developing proposals.

2018-19 SSHRC Fellowship Recipients


Phil Badawy
The Paradox of Control: Investigating the Nature and Implications of Time and Task Control with a Mixed-Methods Longitudinal Design
Taylor Price
Professional Songwriters in the Digital Age and their Audiences
Dana Wray
Reshaping Fatherhood through Policy: The Consequences of Parental Leave for Fathering Definitions and Practices

Recipients from previous years among our current students

Amny Athamny, Tyler Bateman, James Braun, Milos Brocic, Amanda Couton-Couture, Meghan Dawe, Miranda Doff, Marie-Lise Drappon-Bisson, Athena Engman, Melissa Godbout,  Cinthya Guzman, James Jeong, Timothy Kang, Hammand Khan,  Patricia Louie, Gabe Menard, Andreea Mogoanu, Jean-Francois Nault, Andrew Nevin, Jaime Nikolaou, Merin Oleschuk, Laila Omar, Sebastien Parker, Shawn Perron, Paul Pritchard, Kate Rozad, Kerri Scheer, Rachel Schumann, Ioana Sendroiu, Jason Settels, Sarah Shah, Anna Slavina, Yukiko Tanaka, Samia Tecle, S.W. Underwood, Laura Upenieks, Anelyse Weiler and Lawrence Williams.