Social Mood Conference  |  Socionomics Foundation

By Susan Walker | January 31, 2014

Scientist and musician to speak at 4th Annual Social Mood Conference in Atlanta

Mikko KetovuoriOne of the 10 speakers at our 4th Annual Social Mood Conference on April 5, 2014, is both a scientist and musician. Mikko Ketovuori, Ph.D., is a lecturer at the University of Turku in Finland where he combines such diverse fields of study as sociology, philosophy, and the arts to find new ways of analyzing complex problems. He has also lectured at Columbia University in New York and the University of Cordoba in Spain. For the conference, Dr. Ketovuori will speak on the topic, “The Rise and the Fall of Nokia and Moods of Music in Finland.”

EWI: What is your latest research about? 

Mikko Ketovuori: In my presentation, I will explore the history of the mobile phone company Nokia from 1986 to 2014. In its heyday, during the year 2000, Nokia’s shares made up more than 70% of the market capitalization of the Helsinki stock market. One might say, “Nokia was at that time Finland.” (Older readers will remember when the same comment was made about General Motors and the United States.) For my working paper, I compare Elliott wave analysis of Nokia’s stock with an analysis of pop music sold in Finland. University students are helping me evaluate the moods of the songs, using a special investigation tool, the visual analogue scale.

If the society and its markets are homogenous, as in the case of Finland, then the frame of interpretations of values in society tends to be congruent. My hypothesis is that the measured moods of the music and the development of Nokia are parallel to each other, and that they both reflect the same thing: hope and confidence in Finnish society.

EWI: Tell us why you are looking forward to the Social Mood conference.

Mikko Ketovuori: I have been following Elliott Wave International’s work since 2006, when I came across Robert Prechter’s book Conquer the Crash. At that time in Finland, it was hard to find a person who would accept the ideas presented in the book. In 2008, as the world economy collapsed, the situation changed. I was very happy that I knew what was happening, and my interest in socionomics grew even more. Now, I consider myself privileged to have this opportunity to present my ideas of Nokia, Finland and music along with the other inspiring presenters who have a broad range of views. This conference is really a unique opportunity to test my ideas and meet new colleagues.

EWI: Is there something in particular you think will surprise your audience?

Mikko Ketovuori: I shall show you a piece of music that might be difficult to forget. It is called “Hard Rock Hallelujah,” a song by the Finnish hard rock band Lordi, which won the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest. Unlike what one might think, the mood of the song is not destructive or pessimistic but optimistic and triumphant. The issue is that before you make any final judgments, you have to know the cultural context that frames the phenomenon.

EWI: What is it about social mood that you find interesting?

Mikko Ketovuori: In my view, the best knowledge we might have cannot be found by relying on just one discipline, but by looking, at the same time, at two or more different fields of investigation. My early research, over 20 years ago, was about history and the arts, and how these two interact or reflect each other. One famous book I read – Oswald Spengler’s The Decline of the West – presents this remarkable observation: Every culture has it seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. That is, life as a whole is cyclical. In socionomics, we are able to measure these things, not just theorize about them, and that is what makes it so fascinating.

EWI: What has led you to the kind of research work that you do now?

Mikko Ketovuori: One of the hot topics in my field has been finding justification for the arts in education. Especially, this is true in North America, where lots of research proving arts to be beneficial has been done. The findings of this research are, though, controversial.

Education is needed, not just to encourage youth to use their own brains but also to form self-contained opinions. The idea of autonomy postulates that mankind is able to learn from its past mistakes. That does not happen, however, if we are ignorant of the effects of herding and the cyclical nature of human reality.

If mass herding can be measured and predicted using socionomics, in my view, it gives a whole new ground to the discussion, which is this: The aim of arts education is to provide students analytical skills to compare, comprehend, and appreciate different styles and genres as well as to understand the connections that arts have to other areas of life and society.

EWI: What is it about socionomics that resonates most closely with your research?

Mikko Ketovuori: If I had to choose, I would say this tenet of socionomics: “Waves of social mood arise when humans interact socially. The process appears to be related to the herding impulse.” It is amazing how fast popular music and fads spread in society. Actually, you cannot prevent yourself from knowing them, even though you might not care much about them. Of course, the Internet has reinforced this process even more – both in positive and negative ways.

EWI: Thank you for your time, Mikko, and we look forward to hearing your talk in April at the 4th Annual Social Mood Conference.

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