Swinging within the iron cage: Modernity, creativity, and embodied practice in American postsecondary jazz education



In this article, I seek to contribute to the anthropology of embodied practice by asking, what would embodied practical mastery that mandates constant differentiation look like, and what would be its cultural and social determinants? In doing so, I draw on ethnographic fieldwork I conducted in a postsecondary jazz school in the United States. Through an exploration of how jazz educators cope with the paradoxical task of training the body and liberating it, I inquire into the challenge of negotiating the tension between the two key modernist ideas of rationalized schooling and Romantic creativity in contemporary institutional contexts.