Network for culture, inequality and democarcy


Read from a selection of our research projects. The projects are categorized based on different types of projects, publications and chronicles.

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Torgeir Uberg Nærland: Media Poverty: media use and citizenship in conditions of deprivation

Media Poverty examines how conditions of poverty affect people’s possibilities to enact informed and active citizenship through their use of the media.

This project will study media use in condtions of poverty through a multi-method, comparative design, using Norway as critical case. Media Poverty is organised in four work packages. In the first, we statistically map media use patterns among poor citizens. In the second, we examine qualitiatively how media use is embedded in everyday conditions of poverty, and how these conditions afford public (dis)connection. In the third, we test causal relationships between access to news and electoral participation among disconnected citizens, through a nationwide field experiment. In the last work package, we develop and recommend policy measures that target the real-life barriers of citizens living in poverty.



In 1998, as part of the Cultural Disorder NFR project, Jostein Gripsrud and Jan Fredrik Hovden made a study of students in Bergen’s cultural lifestyles and class backgrounds, using surveys, interviews and ethnographic material. It was one of the earliest examples in Norway of the use of Pierre Bourdieu’s theories and methodology (correspondence analysis) from the book Distinction (1984, 1979 in French), and demonstrated quite similar links between class and culture - in participation, in tastes - and class and educational choices as found in France. The study was followed up in 2008 (as part of the DigiCult project), demonstrating similar class-based patterns also being important after the popular breakthrough of the Internet, including the newer net-based practices which many held high democratic hopes for, would contribute to a real democratisation of culture (e.g. free online newspapers). The study was repeated again in 2020 (with support from The Norwegian Media Authority RAM), demonstrating the persistence of the same patterns. The studies have been the basis for a number of scientific articles, interviews and other forms of popularisation.


Rune Søholt: Social Media Poverty: Exploring social media practice and public connection among citizens living in poverty

The Social Media Poverty project will explore social media practices among citizens who experience poverty, as well as how poverty affects public connection. The media is an important link to society outside the citizens' own private spheres. Media use is thus an important factor that shapes citizens' orientation towards public and political life, what is called public connection, and is crucial for the exercise of informed and active citizenship. Over time, social media has become a dominant source for news and other information. This also makes social media an important factor to explore in the context of public connection. In Norway, as well as in other countries, citizens who experience poverty are systematically linked to low political participation and to public disconnection. But we have, as of now, little knowledge about how poverty affects the affected citizens' media use in general and specifically about their use of social media. The Social Media Poverty project explores this through extensive qualitative research. Together with participants in the Media Poverty-project, of which this project is a part, we will conduct 60 in-depth interviews with informants from a selection of socio-demographic groups in the municipalities of Bergen and Ullensvang.


Andreas Roaldsnes: Hva har sosial ulikhet å si for barns muligheter for deltakelse i fritidsaktiviteter og hva har deltakelse og mangel på deltakelse å si for livene deres som voksne?

The project will provide increased insight into whether the degree of participation in organized culture, sport and leisure activities for children and adults is conditioned by social background, and which factors shape participation. The project aims to uncover the most important barriers to participation for those families with children who participate little and which the public has a particular responsibility to reach and to investigate the possible opportunity the public has to increase their participation. Furthermore, I will examine how participation within organized cultural life plays together with children's other growing-up conditions and conditions for later transition to adulthood.

The main theoretical starting point for the study is Bourdieu's cultural sociology, Putnam's work on social capital and research on cultural participation more generally. Methodologically, the project rests primarily on analyzes of a panel study (survey) of families with children in Bergen (N=4754). We collected the first round of data in May 2019.

The PhD project is financed by Bergen municipality and the Research Council of Norway. The study has families with children living in Bergen as the most important unit of analysis. Parts of the data set are available in aggregated form in a map solution for visualizing data, where you can examine the variation in the participation of children and young people according to geographical units.


Vilde Ellingsberg: Recruitment, competence and change in the Norwegian news organisations.

The project investigates how editors and managers within different types of journalism newsrooms assess and weight candidates' experience, competence and skills in the hiring process and the career development of their employees. The development of skills and changes in candidates' experiences can be seen in the light of the Norwegian media's transition to digital platforms with new principles and many media's use of advanced analyzes of the public's reading habits. The assessments and decisions that are made not only have consequences for how the newsrooms in the various media houses look, but also how journalism is designed not only today, but also in the future.

The project is based on case studies of cultural journalism and political journalism in Norway. In the last 10-15 years, cultural journalism has gone through major challenges in dealing with the digital platforms and has therefore had to change its strategy in order to reach the readers who require new skills among the journalists.

The project is based on qualitative interviews with editors and managers from national, regional and local media with long experience in the media industry and with employment.


Kristine Widlund Klipper: Completely disconnected? Media use and public connection among irregular migrants.

The purpose of the project is to gain insight and knowledge about a vulnerable and marginalized group on which little research has been done. The research will shed light on the extent to which irregular migrants have the opportunity to orientate themselves towards society and connect with the public. The media is a source of public connection, so media use among this group is central to the study.


About DIGISCREENS - Identities and Democratic Values on European Screens

The international transdisciplinary project DIGISCREENS (2022-2025) focuses on how the streaming of films and TV series contributes to transform social and cultural dynamics in Europe. In particular, the project examines film and TV distribution, reception, and representation in the light of the last decades’ demands for increased diversity and inclusivity on screen.


Hovden, J. F. (2023). The same everywhere? Exploring structural homologies of national social fields using the case of journalism. The British Journal of Sociology, 1468-4446.13023.

Hovden, J. F. (2023). Worlds apart. On class structuration of citizens’ political and public attention and engagement in an egalitarian society. European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology, 10(2), 209–232.

Flemmen, M., Hjellbrekke, J., Hovden, J. F. and Jarness, V. (2022): “Stability, Transformation, and Escalation: Norwegian Classes and Class Boundaries 2008–2020”. Class Boundaries in Europe. The Bourdieusian Approach in Perspective. London: Routledge.

Hovden, J. F and Rosenlund, L. (2021): “Class and Everyday Media Use. A Case study from Norway”. Nordicom Review.

Hovden, J. F (2021): “Dårlige borgere? Arbeiderklassen i den moderne offentligheten.” I Ljunggren og Nordli Hansen Arbeiderklassen. Oslo: Cappelen Damm.



Nærland, Torgeir Uberg Nærland (Klassekampen, 22.12.2023 “Det står noe på spill”

Roaldsnes, Andreas (Bergens Tidende, 24.5.23) “Festspillene er ikke samlende”

Hovden, Jan Fredrik (Khrono, 14.2.23) “Veksesmerter. Om lesekriser og andre kriser i akademia”

Hovden, Jan Fredrik (Klassekampen, 24.8.22) “Offentlegheitas klassetak”