The role of music in the cultural public sphere: An analysis of music’s impact on the formation of political opinion
Given the widespread presence of music, the emotional impact it can have upon the listener, and its interconnection with social and political identity, there is reason to believe that music plays a formative role in the process of political opinion-formation in the public sphere. The relation between music and democratic processes is, however, a field which calls upon further research – on both the empirical and the theoretical level. By combining different qualitative research methods in the study of practise within the musical genres of dance band, hip hop and contemporary classical music, I aim to contribute to the elucidation of the role music plays in the formation of political opinion in the public sphere. The goal of my PhD project is to analyse which role music plays in the process of opinionformation and deliberation in the Norwegian public sphere. In order to investigate this, I pose the following four research-questions: (1) How are political identity and sentiment expressed through mediated texts within musical genre? (2) How are political identity and sentiments articulated through the musical-aesthetical practice of specific musical genres? (3) Which political identity and sentiments characterise the audience within different musical genres? (4) What impact do the political identity and sentiments that are being articulated on the level of musical genre have upon the processes of opinion-formation and deliberation in the public sphere? On the empirical level, I aim to gain insight to how political identity and sentiments manifests itself in the practice of the selected musical genres. On the theoretical level, I will discuss Jürgen Habermas’ theory of deliberative democracy in relation to expressive culture.