Tobias Malm

Tobias Malm

Vik. Universitetslektor

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Arbetar vid Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik
Telefon 08-120 763 81
Besöksadress Frescativägen 54
Postadress Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik 106 91 Stockholm

Om mig

Jag är fil. doktor i pedagogik med inriktning mot organisation och musikliv. Jag har en bakgrund som musiklärare och rockmusiker och här på institutionen är jag knuten till den organisationspedagogiska forskargruppen.


Jag undervisar inom kurserna "Pedagogik 1" och "Skolan i samhället”, samt handleder examensarbeten på grundnivå. Därutöver arbetar jag med lärarutbildning och handledning vid Kungliga Musikhögskolan (KMH) och Stockholms Musikpedagogiska Institut (SMI).


Mitt forskningsintresse kretsar kring lärande och organisation med inriktning mot musiker och musikliv. I min avhandling "Konsten att hålla ihop - Om lärande och organisering i rockband" utforskades olika aspekter av bandmedlemmarnas lärprocesser i fem svenska rockband under olika skeenden och grad av publik framgång. Jag publicerar mig och verkar inom både organisationspedagogik och musikpedagogik, och drivs delvis av att finna en skärningspunkt mellan organisationsforskning, populärmusikstudier och sociala teorier om lärande.



Malm, T. (2020), Konsten att hålla ihop. Om lärande och organisering i rockband [doktorsavhandling]. Stockholm: Stockholms universitet, Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik.

Malm, T. & Schoug, A. (2020), "Studieförbundens populärmusikverksamhet – En plantskola för vad?", i Hill N. & Schoug A. (red.), Lärande i civilsamhället, Stockholm: Trinambai, ss. 81–120.

Malm, T. (2020), Learning to develop as a rock band: The contradiction between creativity and entrepreneurship. Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, 25, 100379.

Malm, T. (2019), "Från album till låtar: tio år med Spotify", i Ovesson, C. (red.), Starka tillsammans. Tjugoen nulägesbilder av civilsamhället, Stockholm: Trinambai. ss. 199–208.

Malm, T. (2018), ”Recognizing the practitioner-self: Lessons from studying rock bands at-home”, Journal of Organizational Ethnography, Vol. 7 Issue: 2, pp.135–146.

Malm, T. & Thunborg, C. (2018), "Från källarband till småföretag – kreativitet och entreprenörskap i popband", i Granberg, O. & Ohlsson, J. (red.), Den lärande organisationen 2.0, Lund: Studentlitteratur. ss. 99–127.

Malm, T. (2017), “Becoming a rock band: The challenges of group identity”, Journal of Popular Music Education, 1:2, pp. 165–182.

Malm, T. (2015), Organiseringsprocesser i ett popband: Bakom kulisser och mellan människor [masteruppsats]. Stockholm: Stockholms universitet, Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik.



“Vad ska livemusik vara bra för? Rockband, ambivalens och sociala världar”, Konferenspresentation, MIRAC (Music-focused Interdisciplinary Research and Analysis Center), Högskolan Dalarna, DAVA/Mediehuset, Nov 2019

“Plantskola för vad? Folkbildningens funktion och betydelse för den svenska musikbranschen”, Konferenspresentation m. Aron Schoug, MIRAC (Music-focused Interdisciplinary Research and Analysis Center), Kungl. Musikhögskolan, Nov 2018

“Plantskola för vad? Folkbildningens funktion och betydelse för den svenska musikbranschen”, Konferenspresentation m. Aron Schoug, MIMER (Nationellt program för folkbildningsforskning), Folkhögskolan Hvilan, Nov 2018

“Från album till låtar: konsekvenser för lärande i internt bandarbete”, Konferenspresentation, MIRAC (Music-focused Interdisciplinary Research and Analysis Center), Kungl. Musikhögskolan, Nov 2017

“Pop- och rockband: De multipla gruppidentiteternas utmaningar”, Konferenspresentation, MIRAC (Music-focused Interdisciplinary Research and Analysis Center), Kungl. Musikhögskolan, Nov 2016


I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas
  • Avhandling (Dok) Konsten att hålla ihop
    2020. Tobias Malm (et al.).

    Rock bands are foundational for modern day music life. These small groups provide well-being and self-fulfillment to its members, as well as fuel for the cultural life and the increasingly highlighted creative industries. Rock bands, however, are particularly difficult to organize. Bands face a range of challenges in keeping together and developing as a group.

    The aim of this doctoral thesis is to develop knowledge on rock band formation and development over time. Based in the discipline of education, the thesis mainly contributes to the fields of organization studies, social theories of learning, and music and cultural life research.

    The thesis uses the theory of situated learning to explore rock band formation and development. The methodology is qualitative and ethnographic, and the research design builds on three studies: an interview study with three rock bands and two case studies. All five bands are Swedish and have found different degrees of success and popularity.

    The thesis investigates band activities and courses of events, band members’ identities, and challenges faced. The findings indicate that a rock band’s activities shift between a production mode – i.e. highly productive times associated with public performances, record releases and marketing, and behind the scenes processes of creating, recording and planning – and a contrasting less active hibernation mode without bigger public projects or goals. The amount of time spent in production mode depends on the band’s degree of “membership” in the music industry. Moreover, a band member forms and actualizes identities of colleague, creator, entrepreneur, friend, hobbyist and professional, in differing combinations, situations and modes. Furthermore, the members’ most significant challenges relate to identity dilemmas.

    Based on these findings, the thesis formulates a model for a rock band’s learning trajectory and argues that a band may develop as it approaches, or becomes a more central member in, the music industry. This development demands increased public success and organizational ability: the band members’ ability to form business-oriented practices, to participate uniformly in an overarching community of practice, and to be flexible as they must identify with, and ascribe meaning to, a variety of activities in different and sometimes contradictory ways.

    The thesis concludes that the challenges of persistence as a rock band or similar group relates chiefly to group member difficulties in identifying with different activities and situations that are necessary to sustain and develop as a collective. Eventually, individual members tend to handle the experience of uncertainty and ambivalence by holding on to one singular identity, which may prevent group development, foster intra- and interpersonal tensions, and ultimately can lead to significant conflicts and/or a band’s breakup.

  • 2020. Tobias Malm. Learning, Culture and Social Interaction 25

    Creativity and entrepreneurship are increasingly celebrated features of today’s societal life. However, small creative groups face many challenges in developing as a productive unit together, and there is still little research on how they learn to handle these challenges. The aim of this article is to provide an understanding of learning within a rock band and its potential for assisting organizational development. It presents an ethnographically inspired case study and uses the theory of communities of practice to analyze the learning processes involved in a band’s organizing of its practices. The findings illustrate how band members learn to become a micro-organization at times of production, while, in time periods between production, they learn to become a loosely held together partial community of creators and entrepreneurs. The article argues that a rock band’s organizational development relates to its members’ ability to handle a seldom highlighted contradiction between creativity and entrepreneurship. It concludes that the group’s members may develop organizationally by learning to identify with and organize for creativity and entrepreneurship in so-called multi-memberships. It also suggests that a rock band not always develops and its multi-membership abilities may as well decrease because of personal, line-up or commercial issues.

  • 2018. Tobias Malm. Journal of Organizational Ethnography 7 (2), 135-146


    The purpose of this paper is to explore and discuss some of the possibilities and risks that one can encounter in the process of doing ethnographic organization research with an at-home approach.


    The paper draws on self-reflexive analyses of a four-year research process, where the author – a rock musician – investigated how rock bands within the author’s social networks organize their activities. The materials used for analysis were notes and diaries, as well as reflections on memories.


    The findings illustrate aspects of the researcher’s “breaking out” process, which involved the researcher’s initial impulse to leave his practitioner-self, a subsequent lack of interest and eventually a return to what felt genuinely intriguing for him to study. The paper argues that one important aspect of the at-home researcher’s breaking out process may involve an active recognition of his/her practitioner-self as a resource – not least to avoid losing interest or getting lost in abstractions.


    This paper conceptualizes and builds further upon previous discussions on at-home research, adding insights into the “breaking out” process and the curious paradox of the proposed necessity for the researcher to leave and utilize his/her at-home experience and familiarity.

  • 2017. Tobias Malm.

    Rock bands feature increasingly in music education. They are essential parts of popular culture and are increasingly highlighted as entrepreneurial organizations in a global music industry. However, to develop and stay together as a band is a difficult task. This study aims to develop an understanding of the challenges of becoming a rock band, shedding new light on previously underexplored complexities of band life by considering the impact of group identities. The methodology entails storytelling and identity work, inspired by a biographical approach. Six explorative interviews with band members were conducted. The results suggest that productive activities form several kinds of work group identities, whereas low-activity periods threaten group identification. The article discusses how diversity of group identities promotes development while uniformity promotes stability. To cope with this paradox, this article suggests that band members ought to learn to develop multiple group identities and flexible ways of relating to one another.

Visa alla publikationer av Tobias Malm vid Stockholms universitet

Senast uppdaterad: 18 januari 2021

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