About the project

The research project The social dynamics of musical upbringing and schooling in the Norwegian welfare state (DYNAMUS) explores how music can be a means of inclusion, but also of exclusion, in a variety of contexts where socialisation and education take place. Furthermore, the project investigates to what extent and how music-related learning and teaching might be connected to social mobility. The aim is to gain a deeper understanding of the cultural prerequisites underlying the Norwegian knowledge society and the welfare state, with a specific focus on the role of the social dynamics of music.

One of the most important premises of the project is that the dynamics of society are largely based on a symbolic economy that works next to the material one, according to which what is considered legitimate culture is continually negotiated. Within the frames of this symbolic or cultural economy, music stands out as one of the most value-laden cultural expressions. Consequently, music and music education constitute important arenas for the battles fought with regard to cultural taste, and this is mirrored in the fact that the field is characterised by extensive and ongoing processes of inclusion and exclusion.

Within the DYNAMUS project, such processes are investigated through three interconnected sub-projects, which together explore a wide range of formal, non-formal and informal arenas for music teaching and learning: 1) the media-musical realities of children and youth such as they appear through for example recorded music and TV programmes; 2) the compulsory-school music education that is made available to all children growing up in Norway; 3) the music education provided by extra-curricular schools of music and performing arts. Timewise, DYNAMUS spans the period from WWII until today, and the design of the project enables investigation of the musical upbringing and schooling that happens from early childhood to late adolescence (ages 0-19).