Pauwke Berkers appointed as full professor of Sociology of Popular Music

Pauwke Berkers has been appointed as full professor at Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC) as of December 1st, 2021. Pauwke is now full professor of ‘Sociology of Popular Music specifically in relation to Inclusion, Well-Being, and Resilience’ at the department of Arts & Culture Studies. Pauwke elaborates on his ambitions as Chair-holder in this interview.

“My overall goal is to channel and integrate existing research on popular music by setting out a clear roadmap to boost the visibility of ESHCC and the EUR as a leading centre for the sociological study of popular music.”

What’s the purpose of your Chair?

This Chair is intended to strengthen research and education at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication regarding the sociological study of popular music.

Sociological interest in music dates back to the birth of the discipline, evidenced in the works of Max Weber, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Georg Simmel. Cultural sociologists such as Pierre Bourdieu, Howard Becker, Tia DeNora, Richard Peterson and Angela McRobbie, have studied popular music to address classic sociological themes such as social inequality, disenchantment, and social cohesion.

Building on their foundational sociological thinking, popular music has been a growing field of research and education within the Erasmus School of History, Culture, and Communication.

What does this Chair mean for Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication?

My Chair aims to channel and integrate these scattered efforts by setting out a clear roadmap to boost the visibility of ESHCC as a leading centre for the sociological study of popular music.

The title of the Chair – Sociology of Popular Music – was chosen to emphasize its focus and approach: the production and reception of popular music in relation to and embedded in society at large, using theories and methods mainly – but not exclusively – drawn from cultural sociology.

The specialist subtitle – Inclusion, Well-Being, and Resilience – was added to reflect my expertise and our collective ambition in these fields as well as to express a focus on the contributions popular music can make to address and possibly solve these three major societal challenges.

What do you hope to achieve as Chair-holder?

My overall goal is to channel and integrate existing research on popular music by setting out a clear roadmap to boost the visibility of ESHCC and the EUR as a leading centre for the sociological study of popular music. Together with my colleagues, I aim formalize and further develop the nascent Rotterdam Popular Music Studies research group, fostering a collaborative and supportive space for junior and medior scholars to present their work, apply for funding and develop impact activities. But also develop plans to further institutionalize the collaboration with Codarts Rotterdam and include societal partners to be part of the research group to ensure societal impact.

What are your plans for the near future?

A few of my plans for the near future as Chair-holder are submitting a Horizon Europe application on a competitive, fair and sustainable European music ecosystem, working on our NWO KIEM and Erasmus Trustfonds projects on resilience and future scenarios of the popular music industries, the development of our academic program at Eurosonic-Noorderslag called ESNScience and, editing a book with our HERA FestiVersities team named ‘Remaking Culture and Music Spaces: Affects, Infrastructures, Futures (Routledge, 2023)’.

Professor

Prof.dr. Pauwke Berkers

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