DYNAMICS: The Dynamics of Cultural Stratification: How Cultural Classifications, Hierarchies and Tastes Change
Duration: 2017–2021, Funding: Academy of Finland (major research project)
Research team: Semi Purhonen (PI), Taru Lindblom (post-doc), Jarmo Kallunki (PhD candidate), Riie Heikkilä (post-doc, part-time), Tina Lauronen (PhD candidate), Ossi Sirkka (RA/project researcher), Sara Sivonen (project researcher)
How do cultural classifications, hierarchies and tastes change and evolve? Have the old status-based distinctions between ‘high’ and ‘low’ dwindled and led us into a more de-hierarchized, democratized and tolerant culture? This project, carried out at Tampere University, develops a new theory of the dynamics of cultural stratification and includes three empirical parts. The first part is a study of newspaper coverage of culture/arts in six European countries between 1960 and 2010. The second part examines the changes in the social organization of lifestyles and tastes in Finland over the last ten years. The third part focuses on the fastest-paced dynamics of cultural stratification by analyzing social media data. By providing general understanding and empirical detail about the recent changes in cultural stratification, the project will be innovative and of high impact in relation to previous academic studies and public debates on cultural inequalities.
DISFIN: Understanding Cultural Disengagement in Contemporary Finland
Duration: 2017–2021, Funding: Finnish Cultural Foundation, City of Helsinki Urban Facts and the Academy of Finland (postdoctoral researcher’s project)
PI: Riie Heikkilä
The DISFIN project aimed at understanding the reasons behind the common yet not often systematically explored lack of cultural activities. The empirical data collected for the project included both focus groups (n=9) and individual interviews (n=40) which have been archived at the Finnish Social Science Data Archive (FSD). The DISFIN project has produced two journal articles (see Publications), and there is a book in progress for Palgrave.
CUDIGE: Cultural Distinctions, Generations and Change: A Comparative Study of Five European Countries, 1960–2010
Duration: 2013–2018 (2013–2014 at the University of Helsinki and 2014–2018 at Tampere University), Funding: Academy of Finland, Kone Foundation and the University of Helsinki research grants (major project)
Research team: Semi Purhonen (PI), Riie Heikkilä (post-doc), Tina Lauronen (PhD candidate), Jukka Gronow (senior fellow); international partners of the team Dr. Irmak Karademir Hazir (Oxford Brookes University, UK), Professor Carlos J. Fernández Rodríguez (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain); plus several RAs at the Universities of Helsinki and Tampere.
This project examined changes in classifications and valuations of culture and the arts in Europe over the last half-century (1960–2010). The project involved a multi-method, longitudinal and cross-national study of cultural hierarchies from the perspective of social change. The core of the project was a comprehensive study of newspaper coverage of culture/the arts, resulting into a data set of more than 13,000 newspaper articles. The newspaper data were sampled from the cultural sections of the leading national daily newspapers: Helsingin Sanomat in Finland, Le Monde in France, ABC and El País in Spain, Dagens Nyheter in Sweden, Milliyet in Turkey and The Guardian in the UK. These data were examined by means of both qualitative and quantitative content analysis. The results show how classifications of culture have changed toward increased cultural heterogeneity through the rise and legitimization of popular culture and the decline and popularization of the traditional highbrow arts.
Nordic Democracy of Taste? Social Differentiation of Cultural Practices in Finland from a Comparative Perspective
Duration: 2011–2013 (at the University of Helsinki), Funding: Academy of Finland (postdoctoral researcher’s project). PI: Semi Purhonen.
This research contributed to the sociological tradition on cultural consumption and taste differences by exploring Finland from a comparative perspective, focusing especially on the cross-national work between Finland and the UK. In the research, unique comparable data sets recently collected in Finland and Britain by previous research projects were used (both nationally representative survey data and qualitative interviews). At the most general level, the conclusion is that even though Finland is characterized by certain national pecularities (e.g. that “highbrow” cultural orientation is so strongly feminized), the two countries are after all rather similar with respect the way cultural taste and lifestyles are organized (the two most important structuring dimensions being the total volume of capital on the one hand and age on the other hand).
Homepage: Suomalainen maku (“The Finnish Taste”)
CCSD: Cultural Capital and Social Differentiation in Contemporary Finland: An International Comparison
Duration: 2005–2009 (at the University of Helsinki), Funding: University of Helsinki research grants and the Academy of Finland (major research project).
Research team: Keijo Rahkonen (PI), Semi Purhonen (post-doc), Riie Heikkilä (PhD candidate), Nina Kahma (PhD candidate), Tuomo Laihiala (project researcher), Jukka Gronow (senior fellow).
The aim of the project is to produce reliable and internationally comparable information about cultural capital, cultural practices and tastes in Finland. In applying the later critical developments of the Bourdieusian approach (e.g., the work by B. Lahire and G. Schulze as well as the discussion of the so-called cultural omnivorousness), the main purpose of this research is to develop a concept and understanding of cultural capital in Finland, to find out how it is distributed and what kind of forms of social differentiation currently exist, and to analyse the structuring factors shaping these differences. The research will be carried out in cooperation with a British research team (project ‘Cultural capital and social exclusion’, see Bennett et al. 2009), which will make possible international comparisons. It will be interesting to see to what extent Finnish society differs from a traditional class society like the UK, and also from the other Nordic welfare states, e.g. Sweden.