Prof. Petter Dyndahl - Keynote abstract

Academic freedom, autonomy, and reflexivity in music education – some paradoxes

The last time I had the privilege of giving a keynote lecture at the Nordic Network for Research in Music Education (during the 2015 conference in Helsinki), it was under the heading "Paradoxes of activism in music education". In many ways, I regard my upcoming contribution as a thematic extension of this one. Although the long-standing notion of academic freedom is apparently far less controversial than current ideas about academics as activists, the ideal of unrestricted and independent research also faces a number of challenges of a political, economic, and/or organizational nature today.

And, of course, it is crucial to address these structures, but in addition to the external obstacles, the concept of academic freedom may also contain some inherent contradictions and paradoxes similar to those affecting activism. The same applies to the ideas of autonomy and reflexivity, which I also want to discuss in this context.

Against this background, and with reference to a wide range of researchers and theorists, such as Al-Amoudi, Bourdieu, Foucault, Kallio, Kuhn, Latour, Piketty, Spivak, and even more, I would like to raise some overarching issues throughout the keynote:

  • What kind of institution is academia, and what's freedom got to do with it?
  • Is academic autonomy and independent research possible?
  • Who are the academics responsible for carrying out these ideals?
  • What are the paradoxes of academic reflexivity in music education?

Author biography

Petter Dyndahl is professor of musicology, music education, and general education at the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences. He has published research results in a wide range of disciplines, including music education, sociology of education and culture, cultural studies, popular music studies, music technology and media pedagogy. In recent years, professor Dyndahl has been project manager for the research projects Musical gentrification and socio-cultural diversities (2013-2017), and DYNAMUS – The social dynamics of musical upbringing and schooling in the Norwegian welfare state (2018-2022). Both projects have been funded by The Research Council of Norway.

petter_dyndahl, photo HIHM.jpgPhoto: HIHM.