Torgeir Uberg Nærland
Nærland's project "The role of music in the cultural public sphere: An analysis of music's impact on the formation of political opinion" combines theoretical perspectives from public sphere theory and the sociology of music with empirical studies of aesthetical practice in musical genres and of taste-formations in political communities.
The aim of this project is to explore which role music play in relation to democratic processes such as deliberation and the formation of opinion. In his Master's thesis Torgeir wrote about the Norwegian dance band-culture. He is also interested in the field of media production and copyright. In addition he is known to be a superb cha cha-dancer and an ardent ping pong-enthusiast.
Given the widespread presence of music, the emotional impact it can have upon its listeners, and its interconnection with social and political identity, there is reason to believe that music plays a contributive role in the process of political opinion-formation in the public sphere. The relationship between music and democratic processes is however a field which calls upon further research - both on the empirical and the theoretical level. Empirically Torgeir is exploring two cases in his phd-work, the first one being musical taste and attitudes amongst the members of the youth wings of the major Norwegian political parties, and the second being political attitudes and opinions expressed through the musical and subcultural practice of the hip hop-genre. Theoretically Torgeir explores questions related to the argumentative qualities of musical communication and to role of musical communication in theories of the public sphere.