Musical expressions both mirror and shape the multifaceted cultural realities of the countries and regions in which they are produced and consumed. Music can therefore provide a window into complex sociocultural issues. With its immense commercial appeal and long history as a political and politicized form of expression, hip hop music offers unique opportunities for understanding how our musical cultures are intertwined with broader societal developments and challenges.
The NORHOP project investigates the multiple functions and implications of hip hop in contemporary Norway, focusing especially on its aesthetic, pedagogical, and sociopolitical dimensions. The primary objective is to develop new knowledge about hip hop music’s potential to shed light on people’s responses to contemporary cultural developments and societal challenges. This involves studying how artists engage with themes including gender, racism, and national belonging, as well as investigating the reception of hip hop in the Norwegian public sphere and exploring its various significances for children, youth, and adults.
The project is interdisciplinary and combines theories and approaches from musicology, music education, media studies, cultural studies, and adjacent fields. Researchers will employ both critical analysis and empirical methods that center the experiences and perspectives of artists and audiences. The project involves the analysis of songs and music videos, interviews with artists and audiences, investigations of hip hop’s role in Norwegian public debate, investigations of how hip hop circulates in educational contexts, and the study of online music cultures and social media. This broad-based approach is intended to accommodate the project’s ambition to strive for a nuanced and holistic view of the possibilities and limitations provided by hip hop for exploring key developments and challenges related to Norway’s sustainability as a diverse and inclusive multicultural democracy.
The NORHOP project will investigate the multiple functions and implications of hip hop music in contemporary Norway, focusing especially on the aesthetic, pedagogical, and sociopolitical dimensions of the performance and reception of hip hop in various cultural, educational, and social contexts. Striving for a holistic view of the possibilities and limitations provided by hip hop for exploring key developments and challenges related to Norway’s sustainability as a diverse and inclusive multicultural democracy, NORHOP combines a critical analytical approach and an interdisciplinary theoretical framework with empirical methods that center the experiences and perspectives of local stakeholders. The project identifies three interrelated areas of particular importance for understanding the mutual influence between popular music culture and broader societal circumstances: 1) the social politics of identity; 2) inclusive music education; 3) digitalization and cultural democratization. By addressing these topics through the lens of Norwegian hip hop music, the project aims to advance our knowledge of how both popular culture and social life in Norway are being impacted by ongoing cultural and social changes affecting the global West.
NORHOP responds to the urgent need for increased understanding of topical challenges in Norwegian culture, education, and society during a period of significant upheaval. The primary objective of the project is to develop new knowledge about hip hop’s potential to shed light on people’s responses to and negotiation of contemporary cultural developments and social challenges, using the case of Norway as a point of entry for producing insights of international relevance. This is achieved by launching an interdisciplinary and multicontextual study of how musicians and audiences in Norway use hip hop to position themselves within and against their cultural and social circumstances.