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A New International Order in Cultural Life? An Institutional Perspective on the Music Field in Northern Europe

Carlsberg Foundation Monograph Fellowships

What

Over the past two decades, the internationalization of cultural life in Europe has accelerated with the sweeping growth of online services such as YouTube, Spotify, Netflix, and Amazon, and of international ownership extending into live music and sports. This internationalization enables new flows and forms of connectivity, while also challenging local traditions and forms of organizing. It also challenges conventional thinking about culture and its relationship with media. This project will develop new sociological theory and methodology to analyze the changing outlook and functions of cultural institutions in northern Europe, focusing on the music field. The wider aim is to create more informed thinking in the fields of culture and communication in the interest of the common good.

Why

The rapid internationalization of media and ownership in cultural life presents challenges to the sociology of culture and related fields such as cultural economy. This project develops institutional theory in cultural sociology from the perspective that cultural institutions are evolving in new international processes of digitalization and centralization of ownership. This perspective can help overcome methodological nationalism and atomistic platform thinking. In addition, elements of communication history and media studies are integrated, including the mediatization perspective that media now constitute new kinds of institutions and transform the conditions of cultural domain, resulting in discursive tensions between culture and media and in renewed calls for government intervention.

How

The project is based on research in the music field in northern Europe over the past decade and will expand into media organizations and media policy, involving interviews with managements and archival research into public policy and European communication history. In addition, the project will systematically map the evolution of international media and international ownership in the music field in Denmark, Germany, and Holland since the 1980s. The research is organized around case studies of institutional developments, focusing on the changes in discourse on culture and in the interactions between culture and media organizations.

SSR

The project promotes scientific social responsibility (SSR) in terms of knowledge interests, relevance to societal actors, and relationship building. First, it seeks to produce foundational knowledge of important changes in cultural life to broaden and deepen contemporary conversations and stimulate reflexivity about culture and the value of cultural research with an ideal of the common good. Second, the project produces knowledge of relevance to actors in cultural and media organizations and in governments. Third, it strengthens long-term relationships between public and private actors by creating knowledge that is useful for communication between these actors and helps strengthen their legitimacy in a democratic and inclusive society. The project further aims to build trust and collaboration between academia and the cultural and media sectors through transparent and ethical representation and through the quality of research itself.