This program is specifically designed to provide you with the skills, confidence, and qualifications to work in cultural production, cultural administration and enterprise, particularly in ways that are aware and ethically responsible.
Culture and change: critical studies in the humanities is a two-year master’s program aimed at students interested in better understanding various cultural phenomena, both past, and present. The program will encourage you to think expansively and creatively about how culture is produced and reproduced, and why it is still contested terrain. We explore and ask questions about issues of power, representation, memory, silence, and place. The program will help you to bridge theory and practice, and to develop research interests in collaboration with external stakeholders. If you have ever considered working in the arts, policy-making, cultural administration, or even pursuing a Ph.D., this might be the ideal program for you.
A two-year master’s program in Cultural Studies
Culture is not just a set of texts, images, artifacts, and compositions that we experience or analyze. It is also a living medium through which we interact with the world and each other, as well as understand ourselves and the societies that we inhabit. Culture is constantly shifting and affects the way power is negotiated. In the post-truth, post-memory 21st century, it is still not clear how different perspectives and expressions of culture will continue to coexist. Questions that we need to face and tackle are: Who gets to speak and act, and who listens? Why do we produce knowledge, and what is it used for? And how can we ethically engage and participate in the work of making/doing “culture”?
What makes the program unique?
This is a two-year master’s program in Cultural Studies which is based in the humanities but also uses methods, theories, and approaches from other fields, such as participatory design, critical museology, and artistic research. A distinguishing feature of this program is the bridging of theory and practice. You will study culture in a broad sense and practically engage with different forms of cultural production as it takes place within institutions such as museums, theatres, arts venues, and in dialogue with stakeholders such as artists, curators, activists, collectives, and small enterprises. An important part of this multidisciplinary program is to provide opportunities for you as a student to collaborate with cultural stakeholders and co-create your own productions, as well as build a community of peers.
The structure of the program
The first year focusses on getting to grips with key theoretical concepts and concerns in the field. We will draw on a wide range of material from film and visual art to performances and public monuments. This year also includes a course with multidisciplinary approaches to research design and methods, as well as a socially-engaged research course carried out in collaboration with external stakeholders. The program progresses by gradually building student confidence and independence, both in terms of scholarship and by creating wider cultural networks. In the second year, we offer elective courses in more specialized subjects, and the program concludes with students writing a 30 credits master’s thesis.
What kind of career will you be prepared for?
This program is specifically designed to provide you with the skills, confidence, and qualifications to work in cultural production, cultural administration and enterprise, particularly in ways that are aware and ethically responsible. Working with a range of local stakeholders, and alongside peers, you will also get the opportunity to build a strong professional network. At the same time, the program provides the necessary rigor to prepare students for doctoral studies within an interdisciplinary and international academic context.
- Bachelor's degree (180 credits) or equivalent in social sciences, humanities or arts.
- General eligibility + the equivalent of Swedish higher secondary school English course B.
In this program, students engage with critical approaches from the humanities in order to study and understand the dynamics of cultural production and change in society. They explore the evolutionary torque of ideas about the human in different geographic contexts and analyze cultural expressions (e.g. texts, films, artworks) as they are situated within diverse encounters, frictions, and historical entanglements. Situatedness is an important dimension, since it emphasizes awareness of individual and collective subject positions in space and time, and pinpoints relations in and between human, non-human, and virtual contexts. Students will strengthen their skills in effective humanistic methodologies, such as hermeneutic analysis, close reading, critical observation, phenomenology, reasoning, and engaging writing. These skills will be further developed through a course on action-based research. Through these methods, students engage in multiple ways of exploring cultural phenomena in society, where there are shifting and uneven points of access and possibilities for production and reproduction. Ensuring relevance to the “here and now”, the program also provides a space for students to negotiate topical issues such as decolonizing climate change, cryptocurrency and economic utopias, real and imagined borders and their transgressions, monuments, and iconoclasm. Through these reflections, we ask: Who has the power to speak and act? How does representation work, and affect/produce different bodies? Under what conditions is knowledge ethically produced? All these approaches and questions set the tone for a rigorous critical inquiry into a culture where students can interrogate challenging histories and their inherited biases, theorize reflexively, and also creatively experiment, and play with alternatives.
The program is rooted in the academic traditions of critical theory, hermeneutics, cultural studies, and critical humanities, dealing with epistemological issues of power and ideology, critique as a praxis, ways of transmission, and problems of translation. However, its starting point is from an idea of culture as both made and inherited, meaning that it is the product of accumulated individual and collective actions (and reactions). Thus, special focus is given to participatory and action-based research methodologies that emphasize the situated and experiential dimensions of theoretical inquiry. Progression between course modules is structured in a way that seeks to integrate theory and practice, putting theory into practice and letting practice inform theory. An important part of the program is that students are encouraged to collaborate with cultural stakeholders and to co-create their own productions, as well as building a community of peers. In the program, students will gain the requisite skills to work in cultural production and cultural administration, in ways that are positionally aware and ethically responsible. At the same time, the program provides the necessary rigor for students to prepare for doctoral studies within an interdisciplinary and international scholarly context.
General goals for second-cycle courses and study programs (Högskolelagen 1:8-9)
Second-cycle courses and study programs shall involve the acquisition of specialist knowledge, competence, and skills in relation to first-cycle courses and study programs, and in addition to the requirements for first-cycle courses and study programs shall:
- A further develop the ability of students to integrate and make autonomous use of their knowledge,
- Develop the students' ability to deal with complex phenomena, issues, and situations, and
- Develop the students' potential for professional activities that demand considerable autonomy, or for research and development work. Higher Education Ordinance (2006:173).
Qualification outcomes for a Master’s degree (Higher Education Ordinance)
Knowledge and understanding
For a Degree of Master (120 credits) the student shall:
- Demonstrate knowledge and understanding in the subject area of Cultural Studies, including broad knowledge of the field and significantly deeper knowledge of specific parts of the field, as well as insight into current research and practice, and
- Demonstrate specialized methodological knowledge in the subject area of Cultural Studies.
Competence and skills
For a Degree of Master (120 credits) the student shall
- Demonstrate the ability to critically and systematically integrate knowledge and to analyze, assess and deal with complex phenomena, issues and situations even with limited information
- Demonstrate the ability to identify and formulate issues critically, autonomously and creatively as well as to plan and, using appropriate methods, undertake advanced tasks within predetermined time frames and so contribute to the formation of knowledge as well as the ability to evaluate this work
- Demonstrate the ability in speech and writing both nationally and internationally to clearly report and discuss his or her conclusions and the knowledge and arguments on which they are based in dialogue with different audiences, and
- Demonstrate the skills required for participation in research or autonomous employment in some other qualified occupation.
Judgment and approach
For a Degree of Master (120 credits) the student shall
- Demonstrate the ability to make assessments in the main field of study informed by relevant disciplinary, social and ethical issues and also to demonstrate awareness of ethical aspects of research and practice
- Demonstrate insight into the possibilities and limitations of research, its role in society and the responsibility of the individual for how it is used, and
- Demonstrate the ability to identify the personal need for further knowledge and take responsibility for his or her ongoing learning.
- Master's Degree (120 credits).
- Degree of Master of Arts (120 credits) with a Major in Cultural Studies.
About the School
Malmö University strives to be part of society at every level. Whether that is regionally, nationally or globally, its focus is making the world a better and fairer place.