Asiantuntijoiden käsityksiä musiikintutkimuksen ja yhteiskunnan suhteista
Investments on research by society are tied with the societal returns on the investments. Societal changes can be seen in research of music as changes both in musics and in research organizations. In changing circumstances, it is necessary to reconsider the meanings and purposes of music research. The relationship between music research and society is affected by our notions of music. Music research is steered by prevailing beliefs and practices, and by assessing the values and significations of musics as part of our societies and cultures.
We interviewed 13 music professors representing a large variety of research directions in Finland for their conceptions of the status quo and purpose of music research. Their professional positions at the intersection of practice and management of research and teaching are central for music research. The goal of the phenomenographic study was to examine the different and shared ways in which the experts understand the socially constructed relationship between music research and society. The thematic interview was based on previous research and a preliminary study on two music researchers. For the benefit of validity, the qualitative, theory-informed analysis of the interviews, each between 35 and 60 minutes in length, was send to the participants for their comments, which added clarification to data quotations, while being mostly finalizations of utterances or choices of words without changes to meanings.
The data portrays the significance of current and active music research in society. Personal, social and cultural motivations for research in music are rooted in the values and signification of music. Small research units are able to react to the changes in the field. While the need for music research is evident, transferring research outcomes to the use of society is not. While dynamic, the relationship of music research and society is polar in a multitude of ways, e.g., in terms of agility vs. human resources in small research units, specialization vs. interdisciplinarity, general vs. personal interests of knowledge, reacting to the ubiquitous and technologized spectrum of music cultures vs. economic measurability in cultural politics, and, finally, the question of instrumental vs. intrinsic values of music.