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Research interests

Susanne Janssen is Full Professor of Sociology of Media and Culture, Research Director of the Department of Media and Communication. In 2021, she was appointed a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).

Her research and teaching activities lie in the fields of cultural sociology, media and communications research, and the sociology of the arts and literature. Susanne Janssen has published widely on the role of cultural mediators (e.g., critics, journalists, curators, editors, marketers) in the creation, dissemination and valuation of literature, music and other art forms; changes, continuities and cross-national differences in the classification of culture; the social and cultural significance of popular music heritage; and processes, structures and impacts of cultural globalization.

Her current research projects focus on the consequences of increased diversity and digitalization for agents, institutions, structures, processes and practices in the fields of media, culture, education, and politics.

Susanne Janssen currently leads a large-scale Horizon 2020 research project, entitled INVENT: European Inventory of Societal Values of Culture as a Basis for Inclusive Cultural Policies in the Globalizing World. This EU funded international collaborative project (2020-2024) involves leading scholars and research institutions based in nine different countries. She also co-directs the Doing Diversity project which examines diversity practices in the educational, cultural and sports sectors in the City of Rotterdam (2022-2024).

Janssen was awarded the prestigious VICI grant (2003) for her Cultural Classification Systems in Transition project from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). From 2010 to 2014, she directed another large-scale international collaborative research project: Popular Music Heritage, Cultural Memory and Cultural Identity which was funded as part of the HERA Joint Research Programme Cultural Dynamics: Inheritance and Identity.

Janssen also received several other major project grants, including an Erasmus Research Excellence grant (REI), four NWO PhD in the Humanities grants, a HERA Knowledge Exchange grant, and funding from the Erasmus Initiative Vital Cities and Citizens. In addition, she was part of the research team of the NWO funded Creative Industries-Smart Culture project on Sustainable Live Music Ecologies (POPLIVE).

Nineteen PhD dissertations have been successfully completed under Janssen’s supervision. Currently, she (co-)supervises ten PhD candidates (cf. her full CV).

Susanne Janssen is the founding chair of the Department of Media and Communication at Erasmus University Rotterdam, which she headed from its inception in 2008 until 2020. She is the founding co-director of the MA in Media Studies and the research master in the Sociology of Culture, Media and the Arts (top-rated programme 2014, 2016 and 2017) and the founding Dean of the International Bachelor in Communication and Media (IBCoM) which was awarded the NVAO Distinctive Quality Feature for Internationalisation and the European Certificate for Quality in Programme Internationalisation (2014; re-accredited in 2019).  

She also served as the founding academic director of ERMeCC, the Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication, and Culture (2008-2023), which was in 2023 transformed into the faculty-wide Erasmus Research Institute for Media, Culture, History and Society (ERMeCHS). ERMeCHs unites more than 100 researchers and over fifty Ph.D. candidates from a variety of international and disciplinary backgrounds and is home to one of the largest research groups focusing on the social dimensions of media, culture, and the arts worldwide. 

Susanne Janssen performed manifold executive and advisory services in academia and the cultural sector. She served, among other things, on the Dutch Council for Culture in the Netherlands,  the founding committee of the Netherlands-Flemish Communication Association (NEFCA), and the NWO Cultural Dynamics programme board and as chair-elect of the European Research Network for the Sociology of the Arts (ESA). From 2010-2012, Janssen was co-editor-in-chief of Poetics, the premier journal for empirical research on culture, media, and the arts and a leading journal in sociology, for which she presently serves as an advisory editor. Current memberships include the academic executive board of the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus (LDE) Centre for the Governance of Migration and Diversity, the executive board of the Netherlands School of Media Studies (RMES), the Council for the Humanities (RGW), and the international editorial advisory boards of Sociologie de l’Art and the International Journal of Music Business Research. Janssen was appointed an Honorary Professor (2010-2016) in the Centre for Cultural Research at Griffith University, Australia, a member of the Royal Dutch Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMW) in 2015, a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) in 2021, and a member of the Council for the Humanities (RGW) in 2023.

Susanne Janssen holds an MA degree in General Language and Literature Studies and received her Ph.D. from the University of Tilburg (1994). Her dissertation research on processes of reputation formation and the role of reviewing and criticism in the field of literature was funded by NWO (Open Competition). She moved to the Faculty of History and Arts – now called the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC) - of Erasmus University Rotterdam at the start of the Department of Arts and Culture Studies in 1989, where she was appointed Associate Professor in 1999, endowed Professor in 2003, and Full Professor in 2007.

View Susanne Janssen's full CV.

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 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

ERMeCHS research clusters

  • JIM - Journalism, information technologies and media use
  • PCI - Popular Culture and Inequalities


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