The music-making milieu : a post-phenomenological study on well-being assemblages : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Psychology (endorsed in Health Psychology) at Massey University, New Zealand

Thumbnail Image
Open Access Location
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Massey University
The Author
Recent research suggests that people working as music-makers often experience poorer health outcomes compared to the general population. However, these studies neglect the socio-cultural and material contexts from which these health outcomes emerge, resulting in recommendations for interventions that are overly individually focused. This thesis calls for a radical new conceptualisation of well-being that can address the milieu from which music-maker experiences of well-being emerge. The research addresses this gap via a post-phenomenological perspective, developing a conceptual framework informed by Deleuzoguattarian understandings of assemblage and affect to analyse conversations with seven professional and semi-professional music-makers in New Zealand. The study explores how their experiences of well-being are shaped by various social, material, and structural contexts. The findings reveal that music-making is a source of well-being through the transformative processes of becoming-other, allowing music-makers to transcend rigid subjectivities and individualism. However, this capacity for well-being can be disrupted by affective forces of neoliberalism and capitalism which territorialise creative work, are incapable of sufficiently valuing creative labour, and impose significant pressures on music-makers. The precarious nature of the music industry, the hyper-competitive gig economy, and the pervasive influence of alcohol emerge as significant factors affecting the well-being of music-makers. The study underscores the need for interventions that extend beyond individual-focused approaches, suggesting implementation of supportive structures and policies that are less reliant on capitalist models. The findings contribute to a broader understanding of well-being in the context of creative work, offering insights for future research and policy-making as well as contributing to the emerging literature on relational understandings of well-being.
music making, well-being, post-phenomenology, Deleuze and Guattari, assemblage, affect, new materialism, post-humanism