Cultural Boundaries & Power
ERMeCC Research Cluster

Cultural Boundaries & Power

Researchers in this cluster investigate how cultural boundaries between different social groups are produced, reinforced, but also undone in the domains of the arts & culture field, businesses and the workplace, sports, media, but also in geographical spaces like Europe, the nation state or the city. We examine how differences in gender, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, social class, nationality or sexual preference lead to talents, skills, tendencies, likes and dislikes, opportunities and rights in these social domains and spaces. In sum, we focus on how discourses of difference create, guard but also challenge cultural boundaries and how, in turn, these enable and include some people, while disabling and excluding others. In this cluster researchers are concerned with important questions such as:

  • (Why) Do we think black athletes are naturally athletic?
  • (Why) Are people more racist online than they are offline?
  • (How) Does the colour of your skin influence your taste in music?
  • (When) Can gentrification be inclusive?
  • (How) Can everyone have equal rights and opportunities in the smart city?
  • (When) Do women have the same opportunities as men in pursuing a career in arts and culture?
  • (How) Can quotas push for more equality and diversity in the workplace?
  • (How) Can people use media technologies to feel at home, even when far removed from it?
  • (How) Do everyday symbols in the city inform our understanding of national culture?
  • (How) Can media challenge widespread assumptions about poverty?
  • (How) Do public media represent different publics in populist times?
  • (Why) Is there a difference between diversity on and off the football pitch?

Team Members

Researchers active in the Cultural Boundaries & Power cluster:

  • Dr. Isabel Awad

    Isabel’s work focuses on how media policies and practices (may) contribute to the inclusion/exclusion of minority groups and how journalism operates within neoliberal contexts. The underlying concern of her research is an understanding of the conditions for democratic communication and social justice against a backdrop of social inequality.

  • Catching up with dr Delia Dumitrica

    Dr. Delia Dumitrica

    Delia’s work on discourses of nationalism and globalization takes two directions. First, she is interested in how these discourses are reproduced in daily life through the visuals that decorate urban environments. Second, she studies how social media such as Facebook enable and constrain the construction, performance and understanding of cultural identity.

  • Dr. Jiska Engelbert

    Jiska explores how media define social problems in neoliberal times. She focuses on media diversity programming & policies in post-racist Netherlands, influence of global brand value in Middle East reporting, narrative techniques in post-ideological social democratic parties, social media’s technical facilitation of populism, and mediatization of anti-poverty campaigning. 

  • Dr. Joep Hofhuis

    Joep specializes in intercultural communication in the workplace. He approaches the study of cultural boundaries and power from a combination of fields, including communication science, organizational science and cross-cultural psychology.

  • Portrait Julian Schaap (Square)

    Julian Schaap, MSc

    Social inequality along ethno-racial and gender lines, particularly regarding the (re)production and/or of whiteness and masculinity in popular music. Interested in the cross-fertilization of cultural/cognitive sociology and cognitive aspects of everyday boundary drawing.

  • Dr. Mélodine Sommier

    Mélodine works in the field of intercultural communication. Her broad research interests include uses of culture as discursive and interactional resource, media representations, migration issues, and (anti-)racism. Mélodine looks at the (re)production of symbolic boundaries in discourses circulating on- and offline.

  • Jacco van Sterkenburg Visiting Professor at Victoria

    Dr. Jacco van Sterkenburg

    Jacco’s research focuses on the role of mediated sport (especially football) in (re)producing discourses about race/ethnicity, gender, nationality and (dis)ability in contemporary multi-ethnic societies. Moreover, his research addresses racial/ethnic and gender diversity in football and sport coaching and leadership, from a critical perspective.