prof.dr. Pauwke Berkers

Sociology of Popular Music, specifically in relation to Inclusion, Well-Being, and Resilience

Personal profile

Research interests

Pauwke Berkers is full professor Sociology of Popular Music, specifically in relation to Inclusion, Well-Being, and Resilience in the Department of Arts and Culture Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam. Together with dr. Julian Schaap, he co-founded research group Rotterdam Popular Music Studies (RPMS) as well as the EUR minor MU$IC: The Economy, Sociology and Practice of Popular Music. Pauwke is head of department Arts and Culture Studies. He is one of founding members of the Rotterdam Arts and Sciences Lab and member of the EUR core team Cultuurcampus.

Pauwke Berkers was born - earlier than expected - on December 6, 1977, the year that punk exploded. Unwilling to leave the beautiful province of Noord Brabant, he studied sociology at Tilburg University, specializing in the sociology of arts and culture. His MA thesis Rock tegen de rollen: Een onderzoek naar vrouwenpunk en feminisme in Nederland rond 1980, addresses the extent and ways in which female band members have dealt with gender boundaries, drawing on both do-it-yourself and feminist ideologies. After obtaining his master's degree, he started his PhD project at the department of Arts and Culture Studies at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Reluctantly leaving the sociology of music behind him, his dissertation Classification into the Literary Mainstream? Ethnic Boundaries in the Literary Fields of the United States, the Netherlands and Germany, 1955-2005 discusses how and to what degree ethnic minority authors have become part of the literary mainstream (criticism, policy and history) in the United States, the Netherlands and Germany from 1955 to 2005.

Pauwke Berkers is full professor Sociology of Popular Music, specifically in relation to Inclusion, Well-Being, and Resilience in the Department of Arts and Culture Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam. 

Pauwke has published widely on the relationship between popular music and INCLUSION in (more and less) prestigious academic journals, chapters in edited volumes and a monograph Gender inequality in metal music production. Moreover, he has acquired and led several substantial projects that address inequalities and inclusion in popular music, including the international HERA project European music festivals, public spaces, and cultural diversity (FestiVersities), EUR Fellowship Hearing diversities, PhDs in the Humanities Elvis has finally left the building? Boundary work, whiteness and the reception of rock music in comparative perspective. He has been invited as a speaker at both academic and professional symposia on this topic (e.g., Museumcongres), acted as an expert in media interviews, and presented his work at knowledge festivals (e.g., invited speaker at NWO’s Nacht van de Wetenschap). Finally, Pauwke did contract research on diversity in the arts for the Rotterdam Arts Council as well as the City of The Hague. He is currently part of the National Workgroup Inclusion (including representatives from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Council for Culture, many funding agencies), discussing current developments in inclusion research and strategies in the cultural sector.

Recent work includes RESILIENCE, particularly in the context of popular music as an ecosystem. In the NWO Smart Culture project Staging popular music (POPLIVE), initial ideas on popular music as a more or less resilient ecosystem have been developed, resulting on several publications. Moreover, he supervises the PhD project of Wessel Coppes (Codarts Head of Pop, Jazz and World Music) addressing the connection between higher popular music education and the music industry, touching upon issues of resilience. Pauwke is currently doing a pilot study – with Frank Kimenai (ESHCC), Codarts Rotterdam, and dr. Joost Vervoort (Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University) – in the context of a NWO KIEM and an Erasmus Trustfonds project to explore how resilience principles can be applied and adapted to the music sector, particularly in relation to inclusion and well-being.

Spearheaded by dr. Julian Schaap, Pauwke aims to (help to) develop an integrated, transdisciplinary approach on popular music and WELL_BEING, synthesizing physical, psychological, and social well-being, building on preliminary work and in close collaboration with Codarts Rotterdam.

Finally, Pauwke is an avid - admittedly, somewhat snobbish - collector of manele vechi and cumbia villera tapes, and vinyl records from Cabo Verde to Tuva.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality


  • M Music
  • popular music
  • HM Sociology
  • cultural sociology

ERMeCHS research clusters

  • MICS - Music, Industry, Culture, Society
  • PCI - Popular Culture and Inequalities


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