In The Discourse of Musicology, Giles Hooper considers a number of issues central to recent debates about the nature and direction of contemporary musicology.
The first part of the book seeks to situate and critically rethink the alleged 'postmodern' turn in musical scholarship.
Then, in attempting to overcome some of the problems typically associated with postmodern theory, Hooper draws on the work of JA1/4rgen Habermas in order to interpret musicology as a form of institutionalized discourse and to propose a normative framework for the kind of knowledge in which it can legitimately issue.
The second part of the book focuses on the concepts of 'mediation' and the 'music itself' and engages with the work of influential critical theorist, Theodor Adorno, and the contemporary musicologist, Lawrence Kramer.
Finally Hooper compares and contrasts a number of different approaches to Mahler's Ninth Symphony.
The author's underlying aim throughout is to question whether, and how, it is possible to develop a mode of musicological enquiry that is both epistemologically robust and at the same time capable of answering the demand that it demonstrate its social, political and ethical relevance.