Kyle Devine

Professor - IMV stab
Image of Kyle Devine
Norwegian version of this page
Phone +47 22854060
Room 319
Visiting address Sem Sælands vei 2 ZEB-bygningen 0371 Oslo
Postal address Postboks 1017 Blindern 0315 Oslo

Academic Interests

The questions I ask are about how culture works, and the work culture does, in big capitalist societies. I try to understand the inner workings and outward effects of musical culture in particular, together with its social structures, ecological bases, economic systems, technical media, and histories of thought.

I wrote a book called Decomposed: The Political Ecology of Music (2019). It's about what recordings are made of, and what happens to recordings when they are disposed of. Common sense suggests that the history of recorded music has been a story of dematerialization—an evolution from physical discs to invisible digits. Decomposed shows that recorded music has always exploited natural and human resources, and that its reliance on those resources is more damaging today than ever before. The book received an IASPM International Book Prize, an IASPM-Canada Book Prize, and a PROSE Award from the Association of American Publishers. It was an Honorable Mention for the IASPM-US Woody Guthrie Award.

There's a sequel in preparation. It's about how the contemporary musical world is restructuring itself in response to climate crisis. These changes amount to a climate-oriented transformation of what music is and how it comes to be, not just what it is about or how it sounds. The book is called Recomposed.

I coedited a related book called Audible Infrastructures: Music, Sound, Media (2021). It looks at the social life and social death of various musical commodities in terms of three phases: resources and production, circulation and transmission, failure and waste. We ask how these phases influence and respond to musical conventions, environmental realities, and political-economic conditions in industrializing and industrialized parts of the world.

Most of my other publications are about histories, cultures, and theories of sound reproduction. I coedited Living Stereo: Histories and Cultures of Multichannel Sound (2015) and I coauthored work on gender and social inequalities in music technology for Twentieth-Century Music (2015) and the Contemporary Music Review (2016). 

Music sociology is my other main interest—especially the field's pasts and prospects—and here I coedited The Routledge Reader on the Sociology of Music (2015).

Teaching and Supervision

I’m always happy to hear from prospective students working in my main fields of interest: music studies, sound studies, media studies, infrastructure studies, sociology of music, cultural sociology, material culture, science and technology studies. I encourage projects that are conceptually adventurous, politically engaged, and empirically grounded. Some of my teaching contributions include:


Before joining the University of Oslo in 2015, I taught at City University of London and Worcester College, University of Oxford. At Oxford, I also worked with the Music and Digitization Research Group.


Tags: Music and Media, Music Sociology, Sound Studies, Music and Society, Popular Music Studies, Musicology, Music History, Environmental Humanities


Devine, Kyle. 2019. Decomposed: The Political Ecology of Music. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Devine, Kyle, and Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier, eds. 2021. Audible Infrastructures: Music, Sound, Media. New York: Oxford University Press.

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Published June 1, 2015 12:34 PM - Last modified Aug. 7, 2022 12:07 PM