European inventory of
societal values of culture

INVENT Team - Digitalization and culture

Nørgaard Kristensen, N., Janssen, S., Myrczik, E. &  Verboord, M. (2022) Digitalization and culture: impacts, practices, and perceptions in nine European countries.

This report provides an overview of how the INVENT project has studied the influence of digitalization on culture in a broad sense, applying an audience or people centered approach. The report opens with a brief discussion of key theoretical concepts and meta-processes such as digitalization, mediatization, and datafication (of culture); (digital) media use; digital cultural participation; and the role of digitalization in connection to the other trends studied in the project – changing notions of culture, globalization, and rising social inequalities. Second follows a part on some of the innovative digital methods applied in the project, both digitized and digital born methods, as the question of digitalization and digital technologies is important not only to the research topics and focus areas of the project but also to how INVENT has methodologically approached these topics. Third, the report presents some of the preliminary empirical findings of the project so far linked to digitalization of culture, including descriptive findings from a nationally representative survey collected in 2021 in the nine INVENT partner countries, probing issues of, among other topics, digital cultural participation and the digital transformation; findings from two (of three) consecutive phases of data scraping of social media content about cultural issues; and spotlights from the ongoing interview data collection on Europeans’ perceptions of cultural changes in their lives, highlighting issues pertaining to digital media in the Danish, Finnish, French, Serbian, and UK contexts.

The analyses show, among other things, that Europeans engage in a wide variety of digital cultural practices but many of the activities are done by a limited number of people. The most common activity is communicating or sharing things with friends and family – this has become a structural feature of everyday life in Europe. Several are more niche activities for separate, specific groups. Overall, Europeans seem more positive than negative about the impact of the internet in everyday life. For many, it is difficult to live without the internet nowadays – the internet has made it easier to keep in touch with others, access online entertainment, find information about arts and culture, buy (cultural) products, and make cultural connections. There is still a substantial group, however, who have difficulties in coping with the digital society, and such digital divides in the cultural domain seem to be socially stratified. Finally, when Europeans express themselves online about culture they communicate about and engage in both narrower defined types of culture and broader types of culture connecting to societal values, wellbeing, inequalities etc.The concluding section provides a summary of key preliminary findings, reflects on the methodologicaland comparative issues behind the findings and points to the upcoming tasks related to WP5 and digitalization of culture.

INVENT Team “Digitalization and culture: impacts, practices, and perceptions in nine European countries.”