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) offers a dynamic environment accommodating a broad range of research in the humanities and social sciences.

Researchers at Tema Q share an interest in a critical/analytical understanding of the social, creative, economic, legal and political dimensions of the circulation of knowledge and cultural heritage.

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 how cultural heritage and knowledge are interpreted and regulated within and between everyday life, media, traditions, institutions and archives.

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The research environment Tema Q's main focus and strengths are 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 media texts themselves as well as their production, dissemination, use, and regulation. We examine the mediation and materialities of culture from both contemporary and historical perspectives, while striving towards being interdisciplinary and methodologically innovative. 

We have a specific and unique profile in our expertise on intellectual property and various forms of regulatory practices vis-à-vis media technologies and knowledge-circulating principles.

Of special interest is the intersection between different materialities and the formal and informal norms through which knowledge circulates in society. Our current multidisciplinary research on patents and knowledge circulation focuses on the patent's relationship to documents, files and information history and ties in with perspectives from media-archeology and material culture. Here, we are connected to a lively and interdisciplinary international research front that spans across a number of disciplines that have in common the interest in how artistic works as well as knowledge and innovation are regulated, controlled, and owned.

Cultural heritage  

What inheritances are kept for the future and how comes that some memories, histories and material remnants are given priority, and some are obscured in practices such as collecting, archiving, exhibiting and performing meaningful pasts? Cultural heritage research at Tema Culture and Society studies the changing meanings and use of both material and intangible cultural heritage within and outside institutions. We contribute on an interdisciplinary basis to the development in research fields such as critical heritage studies, museology and cultural memory studies. 
Our research has a special focus on a critical understanding of digital practices and the political, democratic, economic and material effects of digitization and globalization of meaningful pasts.

Another area of strength is our research into the changing 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 relations between intellectual property and cultural heritage, and on studies of traditional knowledge and natural resources in terms of ownership and use of common assets.

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 stands on a scientific foundation and supports the integration of theoretical and practical perspectives. Internal and external actors are invited to an advanced seminar series associated with form and craft studies, where they present and develop artistic projects and their own texts, discuss current research, and find collaboration in applications for research grants, etc.

Selected ongoing research

Collaborative research, platforms and networks Show/Hide content

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 supporting collaboration between 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, Australien
  • Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis vid University of Amsterdam
  • Institutionen för kulturvård, Göteborgs universitet
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • University of Kent, Canterbury

Doctoral studies Show/Hide content

The education consists of four or two years of full time studies and is carried out in close relation to the researchers at Tema Q and affiliated researchers with the goal to train the doctoral student to be an advanced and detached researcher in cultural science.

Doctoral research projects

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

Isabelle Strömstedt's dissertation project examines the representation of the Swedish Patent and Registration Office in the 1940s. To celebrate 50 years as a government agency in 1941, 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 microhistorical study, the project investigates how the office constructed its narrative and history in collaboration with the museum.

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 of their own in producing their ontological status and meanings. Larson Lindal studies the movement and different mediations of a single work – the Third String Quartet, op. 20 (1923) by Austrian composer Ernst Krenek – during the period from its composition to World War II.

The main perspectives are Actor-Network Theory and Micro-history, while also discussing theories of musical works and musical ontology, including music as intellectual property.

From Fossil to Fact: The Denisova Discovery as Science in Action

In From Fossil to Fact: The Denisova Discovery as Science in Action Mattis Karlsson treats the discovery of the ancient human form the Denisova human as a case of science in the making. The Denisova was first described in Nature in 2010 based on the results of mtDNA analysis from samples extracted from a fossilized phalanx found in the Denisova Cave located in the Siberian Altai mountains. 

Karlsson draws of the works of amongst others Bruno Latour and Thomas Kuhn to describe how the Denisova was made as a result of being transformed from fossil to DNA and discovery.

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

Olga Zabalueva's dissertation project concerns the Museum of Movements, a national museum for democracy and migration project in the Southern Swedish city of Malmö, and is called “Not All Museums”: Memory, politics and museum activism on the move.

Afterlives: 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.

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Visiting address Norrköping

Campus Norrköping

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

Postal address Norrköping

Linköping University

Kungsgatan 56
601 74 Norrköping

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