Culture: Theory and Research, 7.5 credits (771A29)

Kultur: Teori och forskning, 7.5 hp

Main field of study

Computational Social Science


Second cycle

Course type

Programme course


Marc Keuschnigg

Course coordinator

Marc Keuschnigg

Director of studies or equivalent

Maria Brandén
Course offered for Semester Weeks Language Campus VOF
F7MCD Master´s Programme in Computational Social Science 3 (Autumn 2019) v201939-201943 English Norrköping o

Main field of study

Computational Social Science

Course level

Second cycle

Advancement level


Course offered for

  • Master´s Programme in Computational Social Science

Entry requirements

A bachelor's degree or equivalent in the humanities, social-, cultural-, behavioural-, natural-, computer-, or engineering-sciences.
English corresponding to the level of English in Swedish upper secondary education (English 6/B).

45 ECTS credits completed in Computational Social Science.

Intended learning outcomes

After completion of the course, the student should at an advanced level be able to:

  • describe and analyze the market constraints and coping strategies of actors in cultural industries
  • assess the roles and importance of intermediaries positioned between producers and consumers in cultural markets
  • dissect and explain consumer behavior in fast-paced and socially visible market settings
  • apply theories and formal models of peer influence and social diffusion
  • critically discuss the current state of empirical research on cultural markets
  • evaluate the application of statistical, mathematical, and computational methods to research on cultural markets

Course content

This course is about cultural markets and their dynamics. Cultural markets are constituted by sets of actors, including interconnected producers, consumers and intermediaries, who are embedded in systems of exchange involving cultural goods, such as books, music, movies, etc. Actors who participate in cultural markets are differentiated, and the strategies they use to navigate these markets are analyzed. The course frames cultural markets as valuable testing grounds for theories of socially influenced behavior prone to complex collective dynamics and hard-to-predict outcomes. Classical and contemporary theories of cultural production and/or consumption are employed and evaluated. This includes the application of formal models and statistical techniques from social diffusion research. Content will especially focus on state-of-the-art research using computational methods to study peer influence and social dynamics in cultural markets and consumer markets more generally.

Teaching and working methods

The teaching consists of lectures, readings, and seminars. Homework and independent studies are a necessary complement to the course.

Language of instruction: English.


The course is examined through written assignments (individual and group), active participation in seminars, and a written individual final assignment. Detailed information about the examination can be found in the course's study guide.

Students failing an exam covering either the entire course or part of the course twice are entitled to have a new examiner appointed for the reexamination.

Students who have passed an examination may not retake it in order to improve their grades.



Other information

Planning and implementation of a course must take its starting point in the wording of the syllabus. The course evaluation included in each course must therefore take up the question how well the course agrees with the syllabus. 

The course is carried out in such a way that both men´s and women´s experience and knowledge is made visible and developed.


Institutionen för ekonomisk och industriell utveckling


Centola, Damon, (2018) How behavior spreads : The science of complex contagions. 2018

Chapters 1, 2, 3

Hedström, Peter., Bearman, Peter., (2009) The Oxford handbook of analytical sociology Oxford University Press

Please read: 

Watts, Duncan J. and Peter S. Dodds: Threshold Models of Social Influence. Pp. 475-497.

Mahajan, Vijay and Robert A. Peterson, (1985) Models for innovation diffusion. Sage
Page, Scott E., (2007) The difference: How the power of diversity creates better groups, firms, schools, and societies Princeton University Press


DellaPosta, Daniel, Shi, Yongren, Macy, Michael, Why Do Liberals Drink Lattes? American Journal of Sociology 2015, 120(5):1473-511
Freda B. Lynn, Joel M. Podolny, Lin Tao, A Sociological (De)Construction of the Relationship between Status and Quality1 American Journal of Sociology 2009, 115(3):755-804
Gabriel Rossman, Ming Ming Chiu, Joeri M. Mol, Modeling Diffusion of Multiple Innovations via Multilevel Diffusion Curves: Payola in Pop Music Radio Sociological Methodology 2008, 38(1):201-30
Goldberg, Amir, Stein, Sarah K., Beyond Social Contagion: Associative Diffusion and the Emergence of Cultural Variation American Sociological Review 2018, 83(5):897–932
Jonah Berger, Gaël Le Mens, James G. March, How Adoption Speed Affects the Abandonment of Cultural Tastes Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2009, 106:8146-50
Keuschnigg, Marc, Ganser, Christian, Crowd Wisdom Relies on Agents’ Ability in Small Groups with a Voting Aggregation Rule Management Science 2017, 63(3):818-28
Keuschnigg, Marc, Lovsjö, Niclas, Hedström, Peter, Analytical sociology and computational social science. Journal of Computational Social Science 2018, 1(1):3-14
Lu Hong, Scott E. Page, William J. Baumol, Groups of Diverse Problem Solvers Can Outperform Groups of High-Ability Problem Solvers Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2004, 101(46):16385-9
Matthew J. Salganik, Peter Sheridan Dodds, Duncan J. Watts, Experimental Study of Inequality and Unpredictability in an Artificial Cultural Market Science 2006, 311(5762):854-6
Michel, J.-B., Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books Science 2011, 331:176-82
Philipp Lorenz-Spreen, Bjarke Mørch Mønsted, Philipp Hövel, Sune Lehmann, Accelerating dynamics of collective attention Nature Communications 2019, 10:1759
Rossman, Gabriel, The Diffusion of the Legitimate and the Diffusion of Legitimacy Sociological Science 2014, 1(5):49-69
Shi, Feng, Shi, Yongren, Dokshin, Fedor A., Evans, James A., Macy, Michael W., Millions of online book co-purchases reveal partisan differences in the consumption of science Nature Human Behavior 2017, 1:0079
van de Rijt, Arnout, Self-Correcting Dynamics in Social Influence Processes American Journal of Sociology 2019, 124(5):1468-95
ASS1 Assignments EC 1.5 credits
ESS1 Essay EC 6 credits

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