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Art! Power! (completed)

The University of Oslo and Professor Tore Slaatta at the Department of Media and Communication are going to conduct an interdisciplinary research project focusing on the problematics of power in contemporary Norwegian arts. The four artistic fields that will be illuminated are drama, literature, music, and the pictorial arts.

About the project

Concepts like ‘power and the autonomy of the arts’ and ‘perceptions of quality’ suggest the main focus of  the project, which in particular will study the conditions for the politics of culture and economy that exist for artistic and cultural production in Norway today.

The project takes its point of departure in field-analytical theory and is planned as an integrated and interdisciplinary investigation of connections and relations between the institutional, political, and economic conditions and their significance for the artistic room for maneuver and distribution of recognition (symbolic capital), as well as the artistic processes, esthetic choices and experiences that are made in connection with artistic production and reception in concrete situations and works.

This way the project will thematize the relations between an institutional order, characterized by political control and the market logics of the culture industry on the one hand, and an artistic order, dominated by values based on artistic freedom, creativity, and artistic quality on the other. The four artistic fields mentioned above will be analyzed and compared within a shared theoretical framework, where power distribution and power relations within and between the fields will be given particular attention.


The main aim of the project is to establish, and communicate to the general public, scientifically valid knowledge of how such power distributions and power relations are strengthened and weakened within our contemporary Norwegian art- and cultural life, specifically in the fields of literature, pictorial arts, music, and drama. The communicative process will be given priority, and to the extent that it is appropriate, participants and institutions on the arts and culture scene should be involved in dialogue and public debate.

The new knowledge acquired from this kind of independent research will be of considerable importance for the future development of Norwegian policies in the field of culture. The theme of art and power is also well suited to the exploration of the practical meaning of interdisciplinarity between the social sciences and the humanities. As a general background for the project, the processes of globalization connected to increasing mobility and transnational integration and communication are important causes for the growing cultural complexity in both production and consumption. This increases the significance of international recognition and competition. The development of digital technology is also creating new logics of production and consumption in the arts.

The project is designed as an integrated project involving three cooperating partners, the University of Oslo, Telemark University College, and Telemark Research. It unites researchers from different backgrounds in sociology, art history, media science, cultural research, music science, and political science.  The project positions itself in the University of Oslo’s prioritized interdisciplinary area between humanistic and social science research.


The research project has 4 million at its disposal, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.


The project group consists of the following: Tore Slaatta (projectleader, UiO), Per Mangset (HiT), Anne Lorentzen (UiO), Susanne Østby Sæther (UiO), Fredrik Engelstad (UiO) and Ole Marius Hylland (Telemarksforsking).

Published Nov. 14, 2012 12:29 PM - Last modified May 24, 2019 2:24 PM


Contact at IMK:

Project leader: Professor Tore Slaatta

Contact at NFR:

Senior advisor: Solbjørg Rauset