Department of Culture Studies


Rapid Social and Cultural Transformation: Online & Offline

The research program Rapid Social and Cultural Transformation: Online and Offline started running in 2015 and houses 37.6 fte (42 members and 9 PhDs), not counting external PhDs and (many) visiting scholars. The program focuses on the synergies between digital culture, multimodality and socio-cultural diversity, draws on a broad range of empirical data, and aims at theoretical and methodological innovation. The overall ambition is to run a program with high-quality academic output, successful internal quality control through mutual assistance and continuous learning, and high societal relevance that in many cases can translate into actual knowledge utilization.

The mission of the research unit is to explore and explain how digitalization and globalization have consequences for social, cultural and artistic practices. In the 21st century, the 20th century world of cultural production and circulation has been complemented by an online world, and the two increasingly integrate. Modes of interaction have changed worldwide, and our group examines various aspects of the rapidly transforming public sphere.

Examples of research topics are: the fundamental changes in communicative practices due to the speed and fragmentation of the online environment; the rapidly increasing diversification in identity constructions caused by migration and movement; new practices of writing and reading in multimodal contexts; the solidification of populist discourses and the diminishing impact of public intellectuals on societal debates; the incorporation of online practices in pre-existing community rituals. Existing analytical and theoretical frameworks to account for these transformations are continuously subject to critical reflection and revision.