Department of Sociology
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Before joining the University of York in June 2021, I held a teaching fellow position at the University of Bristol (Bristol, UK; 2015-2016), a postdoctoral fellowship at Griffith University (Brisbane, Australia; 2017-2020), and a teaching and research fellow position at Paris Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris, France; 2020-2021).
My research is in digital, cultural, and music sociology. I am particularly interested in the issue of ‘cultural value’, which I approach by conducting research on (1) uses of music streaming services, (2) cultural tastes and practices, and (3) popular music heritage.
I am a cultural sociologist. My initial research interest was in the downloading of digital music files. I wrote an MA dissertation about young people’s practices of music downloading (University of Lille, 2006-2007), followed by a dissertation for my MA Research dissertation on practices of music consumption (University of Lille, 2007-2008). I continued on the similar research path for my PhD studies at Griffith University (2009-2012), when I interviewed 30 Generation Y individuals about their modes of music consumption. This research was later updated with another set of interviews and published in the form of a book entitled Consuming Music in the Digital Age (Palgrave, 2016).
In parallel, I have conducted research on issues regarding the materiality of digital objects and on cultural transformations as mediated by digital technologies. I co-edited with Andrew Whelan in 2014 a special of the online journal First Monday on the 15-year anniversary of Napster. We went on to co-edit a book entitled Networked Music Cultures (Palgrave, 2016), which explores critical trends in the development of digital music technologies.
I have also collaborated on research on diverse aspects of popular music heritage. I published with Sarah Baker and Lauren Istvandity a book entitled Curating Pop (Bloomsbury, 2019), which analyses curatorial practices of popular music heritage within museums.
Lastly, I also work on issues regarding cultural taste and practices, primarily drawing on survey data. In 2021, I am working on a project that interrogates French people’s cultural practices conducted outside of their home (with Hervé Glevarec and Clément Combes).
As of mid-2021, I am finishing a manuscript on music sociology (with Andy Bennett, for Routledge) and another one on popular music heritage and cultural justice (with Sarah Baker and Zelmarie Cantillon, for Cambridge University Press).
I have published in the journals Cultural Sociology, The European Journal of Cultural Studies, The Journal of Cultural Research, The British Journal of Sociology, Cultural Trends, Popular Communication, Leisure Sciences, and The International Journal of Heritage Studies.
Baker, S., Istvandity, L., and Nowak, R. (2019). Curating Pop: Exhibiting Popular Music in the Museum, London: Bloomsbury.
Nowak, R. and Whelan, A. (eds) (2016). Networked Music Cultures. Contemporary Approaches, Emerging Issues, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Nowak, R. (2016). Consuming Music in the Digital Age. Technologies, Roles and Everyday Life, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Nichols, E., Pavlidis, A. & Nowak, R. (2021). “It’s like Lifting the Power”: Powerlifting, Digital Gendered Subjectivities, and the Politics of Multiplicity, Leisure Sciences, DOI: 10.1080/01490400.2021.194598
Haynes, J., & Nowak, R. (2021). We were never cool: Investigating knowledge production and discourses of cool in the sociology of music, The British Journal of Sociology, 72(2), 448-462.
Cantillon, Z., Baker, S., & Nowak, R. (2021). A cultural justice approach to popular music heritage in deindustrialising cities, International Journal of Heritage Studies, 27(1), 73-89.
Glevarec, H., Nowak, R., and Mahut, D. (2020). ‘Tastes of our times: Analysing age cohort effects in the contemporary distribution of music tastes’, Cultural Trends, 29(3), 182-98.
Baker, S., Istvandity, L. and Nowak, R. (2020). ‘Curatorial practice in popular music museums: An emerging typology of structuring concepts’, European Journal of Cultural Studies, 23(3), 434-53.
Nowak, R. and Bennett, A. (2020). Music consumption and technological eclecticism: Investigating Generation Y’s Adoption and Uses of Music Technologies’, Young, 28(4), 347-62.
Nowak, R. and Whelan, A. (2018). ‘“Vaporwave is (not) a critique of late capitalism”: Genre work in an online music scene’, Open Cultural Studies, 2, 451-62.
Nowak, R. and Haynes, J. (2018). ‘Friendships with benefits? Examining the role of friendship in semi-structured interviews within music research’, International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 21(4), 425-38.
Nowak, R. (2016). ‘Music listening activities in the digital age: An act of cultural participation through adequate music’, Leonardo Music Journal, 26, 20-3.
Nowak, R. (2016). ‘When is a discovery? Towards a critical analysis of “discoveries” in music consumption’, Popular Communication, special issue on Music and Discovery, 14(3), 137-45.
Baker, S., Istvandity, L. and Nowak, R. (2016). ‘Curating popular music heritage: Storytelling and narrative engagement in popular music museums and exhibitions’, Museum Management and Curatorship, 31(4), 369-85.
Nowak, R. (2016). ‘The multiplicity of iPod cultures in everyday life: Uncovering the hybridity of the iconic object’, Journal for Cultural Research, 20(2), 189-203.
Baker, S., Istvandity, L. and Nowak, R. (2016). ‘The sound of music heritage: Hearing popular music in music museums and exhibitions’, International Journal of Heritage Studies, 22(1), 70-81.
Cantillon, Z., Baker, S., & Nowak, R. (2021). Music heritage, cultural justice and the Steel City: Archiving and curating popular music history in Wollongong, Australia, in L. Maloney and J. Schofield (eds), Music and Heritage. New Perspectives on Place-making and Sonic Identity, London: Routledge, 103-13.
Baker, S., Nowak, R., Long, P., Collins, J. and Cantillon, Z. (2020). ‘Community well-being, post- industrial music cities and the turn to popular music heritage’, in C. Ballico and A. Watson (eds), Music Cities, London: Palgrave, 43-61.
Long, P., Baker, S., Cantillon, Z., Collins, J. and Nowak, R. (2019). ‘Popular music, community archives and public history online: cultural justice and the DIY approach to heritage’, in J. A. Bastian and A. Flinn (eds), Community Archives, Community Spaces: Heritage, Memory and Identity, London: Facet Publishing, 97-111.
Nowak, R. (2019). ‘Questioning the future of popular music heritage in the age of platform capitalism’, in L. Istvandity, S. Baker and Z. Cantillon (eds), Remembering Popular Music's Past: History- Heritage-Memory, Anthem, 145-58.
Glevarec, H. and Nowak, R. (2019). ‘Le genre culturel comme catégorie élémentaire de la pratique et du goût’, in H. Glevarec, La Différenciation. Genres, Savoirs et Expériences Culturelles, Paris: Le Bord de l’Eau, 251-70.
Düster, B. and Nowak, R. (2018). ‘Cassette cultures in Berlin: Resurgence, DIY freedom, or sellout?’, in A. Bennett and P. Guerra (eds), DIY Cultures and Underground Music Scenes, Abingdon, Oxfordshire: Routledge, 150-60.
Nowak, R. and Baker, S. (2018). ‘Popular music Halls of Fame as institutions of cultural heritage’, in S. Baker, C. Strong, L. Istvandity, and Z. Cantillon (eds) Routledge Companion to Popular Music History and Heritage, London: Routledge, 283-93.
Nowak, R. and Whelan, A. (2016). ‘The digital music boundary object’, in R. Nowak and A. Whelan (eds), Networked Music Cultures. Contemporary Approaches, Emerging Issues, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 113-31.
I teach in various modules in social theory, research methods, and cultural sociology.