Sociology of culture
The research team "culture, everyday life and diagnosis of the times" will deal broadly with cultural sociological issues. It will examine how individual and social existence are shaped in interaction with social changes and trends such as urbanisation, globalisation, commercialisation, new technology, changes in working life, and the increasing importance of areas such as ethnicity, religion, fashion, gender issues and sexuality.
The team will look at sensory and experiential qualities that are less directly accessible, e.g. moods, emotions and non-cognitive "knowledge" associated with the body and physical action. This constitutes a "phenomenological" approach to the study of everyday life, based on an interest in the habitual and the self-evident, as well as the spectacular and the sublime, in relation to significant experiences of socialisation, sexuality, physicality and objects, and of urban space. The field will also include consideration of methods for systematically representing feelings, moods and experiences. In addition, the team will deal with matters of style, dissemination and the use of new methodological tools that incorporate aesthetic perspectives from, e.g. visual art, literature and the Internet.
The team has prioritised the following three themes:
1) "Eros, polis, cosmos". The focal point of this research will be everyday urban life. Urbanisation is still one of the strongest global trends. Developments in communication media, commercialisation and transportation technology collectively influence the nature of city life. The emergence of new forms of socialisation, intimacy and subjectivity influence our understanding of gender, ethnicity, nationality and religion. In theoretical terms, the research points towards a new understanding of the cosmopolitan, based on an urban-sociological perspective. However, the influence of cosmos can also be found at the most intimate level - eros. Sexual themes play a key political role both at national level and in drawing up global, cosmopolitan lines of conflict. Sexuality will therefore be studied in terms of its role as a catalyst in establishing political and cultural lines of conflict- and, conversely, those conflict lines themselves can also impact upon sexuality.
2) "The natural and the artificial". This theme is based on two poles. On the one hand, it will deal with ideas of the "natural", as reflected in everyday knowledge, attitudes and actions in relation to nature, the climate and environmental issues. Studies will be made, for example, of everyday understandings of environmentally sound or inappropriate practices, as well as the choice of explanation logic invoked to justify them. On the other hand, the theme will also look at the "artificial", which will be studied via contemporary aesthetics and aestheticising, and through superficial, form-oriented types of experience, as manifested, e.g. in new forms of community based on inauthentic ("kitsch") items. From here, links will also be established to issues related to fashion and to theoretical sociological understanding of the creative concept and the relationship between creativity and imitation.
3) "Temporalities, emotions and existences". This theme exists on the boundaries between subjectivity, emotions and social change in collective and individual time structures. The impact and significance of emotions and moods in everyday life will be analysed in light of changes in the structure of working life and in the relationship between work and leisure. Also examined will be the interaction between emotions and the processes of inclusion and exclusion, and the relationship between the way time is structured in everyday life, emotional culture and concepts of quality of life. Events in individuals' timelines will be analysed via an existential/phenomenological approach to the aging process and experiences during different phases of life, and to experiences of security, pleasure and quality of life in daily existence.
Research group coordinator: Marie Bruvik Heinskou.
|Members of the research group Culture, everyday life and diagnosis of the times|
|Bjørn Schiermer Andersen|
|Marie Bruvik Heinskou|
|Lasse Suonperä Liebst|
|Allan Michael Madsen|