This thesis explores music tastes of college students. In particular, it focuses on how social influences drive musical tastes and how musical taste changes over time. Particular emphasis is given to the role of capitalism, self-image, social group identity, and new digital music technology with relevant theory drawn from the works of Karl Marx, symbolic interactionism, and conflict theory. To explore this question, I studied music tastes of students at The College of Wooster, a college of slightly less than 2,000 undergraduates located in the rural area of Wooster, OH. This was done by distributing 300 surveys to a random sample of students with questions pertaining to individual music tastes, sources of music discovery, music tastes in relation to self-identity, measure of importance of music tastes in the social context, and usage of music related technologies. Results from the 90 returned surveys showed that there is a distinct relationship between the functions of music socially, mass media influence, the freeing of capitalism as facilitated by new media technologies and the tastes that students formulate during their years in college.


Nurse, Anne


Sociology and Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2007 David Duncan