Culture and Society - Tema Q

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Anchored in a long-standing commitment to the value of interdisciplinary research, Tema Culture and Society (Tema Q) is a dynamic environment that accommodates a broad range of research in the humanities and social sciences.

Researchers at Tema Q share a critical/analytical approach to cultural heritage and the circulation of knowledge, with a particular focus on their social, creative, economic, legal and political dimensions.

Our commitment to interdisciplinary work is manifested in the overlaps between Tema Q's researchers and our interconnected research areas. Our ambition is to further strengthen research on the interpretation and regulation of cultural heritage and knowledge within and between everyday life, media, traditions, institutions and archives.

Research and Forums

Tema Q's main focus and strengths lie in the areas of mediated culture, cultural heritage and form, aesthetics and design.

Mediated Culture

Research in mediated culture has a broad focus and includes studies of both media texts and their production, dissemination, use and regulation. We examine the mediation and materiality of culture from both contemporary and historical perspectives, while striving towards interdisciplinarity and methodological innovation.

We have a unique expertise in intellectual property and various forms of regulatory practices related to media technology and knowledge-circulating principles.

Of special interest are the connections between materiality and the formal and informal norms through which knowledge circulates in society. Our current multidisciplinary research on patents and knowledge circulation focuses on the relationship of patents to documents, files and information history, which connects to perspectives from media-archeology and material culture. Here, Tema Q is in conversation with a lively and interdisciplinary international research front that spans a number of disciplines that share a common interest in how artistic works, knowledge and innovation are regulated, controlled and owned.

Cultural heritage  

In practices such as collecting, archiving, exhibiting and performing meaningful pasts, what inheritances are retained in the future and why are some memories, histories and material remnants given priority while others are obscured? Cultural heritage research at Tema Q studies the changing meanings and use of both material and intangible cultural heritage within and outside institutions. We contribute interdisciplinarily to the development of research fields such as critical heritage studies, museology and cultural memory studies. 
Our research is especially focused on critically understanding digital practices through the political, democratic, economic and material effects of the digitization and globalization of meaningful pasts.

Another area of strength is our research on evolving societal roles of museums.  In this area we contribute with theoretical and methodological reflection on the continuously changing frameworks for the social relevance of museums and archives. Furthermore, our research focuses on the relations between intellectual property and cultural heritage, and on ownership and the use of common assets in relation to traditional knowledge and natural resources.

The Forum for Form, Aesthetics and Design

The Forum for Form, Aesthetics and Design is a platform intended to initiate, inspire and develop the interaction between interpretative perspectives and undergraduate education, research, and infrastructure at the Department of Culture and Society. The forum unites the aesthetic, interpretive and craft-centred fields of undergraduate education and the interdisciplinary approach on which these fields are based. 

The Forum integrates theoretical and practical perspectives into its scientific foundation. The Forum hosts an advanced seminar series associated with form and craft studies, where invited speakers present artistic projects, discuss current research and collaborate on applications for research grants, etc.

Collaborative Research, Platforms and Networks

Researchers at Tema Q are active in a range of collaborative research hubs, platforms and networks.  

Researchers at Tema Q are active in the research hub KOMPASS, developing interdisciplinary research on forms and norms of knowledge circulation. We are a driving force in LiU Humanities, a forum that supports collaboration among researchers, teachers and doctoral students across departmental and disciplinary boundaries. We are part of the editorial board of the journal Culture Unbound.
We network with universities and departments in Sweden and abroad:

  • Université Paris-Sorbonne
  • Institute for Culture and Society University of Western Sydney, Australia
  • Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam
  • Institutionen för kulturvård, Göteborgs universitet
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • University of Kent, Canterbury

Doctoral Studies

Doctoral education consists of two or four years of full-time studies and is carried out in close relation with researchers at Tema Q and affiliated researchers with the goal of training doctoral students to be advanced independent researchers in cultural studies.

Doctoral research projects

The representation of the Swedish Patent and Registration Office in the 1940s

Isabelle Strömstedt's dissertation examines the representation of the Swedish Patent and Registration Office in the 1940s.  In 1941, to celebrate 50 years as a government agency, the Swedish Patent and Registration Office produced the exhibition Idea - Patent - Product at the Swedish National Museum of Science and Technology in Stockholm. Through a micro-historical study, the project investigates how the office, in collaboration with the museum, constructed its narrative and history.

The study is conducted within the research project PASSIM.

How works of music produces ontological status and meaning

Johan Larson Lindal's research concerns works of music as entities with agency to produce their own ontological status and meanings. Larson Lindal studies the movement and mediations of the Third String Quartet, op. 20 (1923) by Austrian composer Ernst Krenek – during the period from its composition to World War II.

This study uses Actor-Network Theory and Micro-history, while also discussing theories of musical works and musical ontology, including music as intellectual property.

The museum of movements "Not All Museums": Memory, politics and museum activism on the move

Olga Zabalueva's dissertation concerns the Museum of Movements, a national museum for democracy and migration in the Southern Swedish city of Malmö. It has the title: “Not All Museums”: Memory, Politics and Museum Activism on the move.

Histories of Women Concentration Camp Survivors in Sweden

Victoria Martinez doctoral dissertation, tentatively titled Afterlives: Histories of Women Concentration Camp Survivors in Sweden,  is an analysis of how women who survived Nazi persecution and came to Sweden as refugees were involved in various sociohistorical processes during the post-war period.

Conferences and seminars


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Contact administration

Visiting address Norrköping

Campus Norrköping
Kopparhammaren 7 Building (Kungsgatan 56), House C, 3rd floor

Postal address Norrköping

Linköping University
Kungsgatan 56
601 74 Norrköping