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Fredrik Bragesjö


Linguistics, Logic and Theory of Science
Visiting address
Renströmsgatan 6
41255 Göteborg
Postal address
Box 200
40530 Göteborg

About Fredrik Bragesjö

A common feature in my research is an interest in the factors, other than traditional epistemic ones, that have impact on science and knowledge production. Over time my interests have evolved from empirical studies of how socio-political forces influence scientific knowledge and practices of research to studies developed with a co-production perspective. The perspective is guided by a theoretical understanding of how science and society mutually and dynamically influence each other.

In addition to a study of the controversy surrounding the MMR vaccination and a suggested link to the development of childhood autism in 1998, Professor Margareta Hallberg and I worked on theoretical and methodological issues related to the co-production idiom, elaborated in the book I forskningens närhet (2009) [In the Proximity Research]. Starting off with sociologist of science Sheila Jasanoff’s research in this area, we tried to develop a research program with less esoteric, contradictory and metaphysical elements.

In the book, the analysis of empirical data is done in accordance with this program, making it possible to study not only how social and historical factors are effecting the production of knowledge (as is the case in more traditional research in Sociology of Scientific Knowledge). The co-production perspective additionally gave us tools to give equal attention to how the production and dissemination of scientific knowledge influence the social order. To follow these processes and interactions over time and place, poses a methodological challenge but will result in new and relevant knowledge of the reciprocal processes of science, politics and society.

Currently I am active in two projects, funded by The Swedish Research Council:

“Science and Politics in Interaction: Antibiotic Resistance, MMR and Child Sexual Abuse”. PI: Professor Margareta Hallberg.

In this project, we continue our research on how science and society are closely interconnected and co-produce social and natural order in complex processes. Scientists need allies in the wider society to become successful in their knowledge-claims and society needs science to organize social institutions and make decisions. However, the processes of translating scientific knowledge into action often run into difficulties. The project brings together three different cases that recently have provoked problems of the kind to both science and society. The main case concerns why knowledge of antibiotic resistance has been tremendously difficult to implement. We aim to map out the interaction between science and society in this prolonged process. Significant actors and networks will be identified and analyzed in detail.

In addition to this, the last year of the project will take a further step towards an analysis of co-production. Here, ongoing research projects with a similar perspective on science and society will be compared to the above described case, with the purpose of receiving a thick description of how knowledge and politics interact and thereby co-produce social order. Merging the notion of co-production with empirical cases in Sweden has not been done this thoroughly before.

“The Democracy of the Scientific Society: Scientific Citizenship and the Notion of the Third Assignment in Sweden, 1977-2007”. PI: Senior Lecturer Dick Kasperowski.

Recent research in Public Understanding of Science (PUS) has taken an interest in the concept of Scientific Citizenship. By means of this concept it has been studied how different groups and actors in society has been assigned different rights and duties towards scientific knowledge. In Sweden the relationship between citizens and university science is regulated by the “third assignment” (tredje uppgiften) in the Higher Education Ordinance (Högskoleförordningen).

The general aim of this project is to study the purpose of the establishment (1977) and reformulation (1997) of the third assignment with reference to scientific citizenship. The goals and different practices undertaken at the national policy level, the higher education system and local university settings are all in focus. The project hereby analyzes the interaction of macro, meso and micro levels of the scientific citizenship as expressed in political, legal and university documents of the third assignment. Hereby the construction of rights and duties of the different actors in relation to science and research in the Swedish context will be highlighted and contextualized. The project brings together recently developed concepts in PUS-research with new empirical material in a novel way addressing highly relevant questions of science and democracy.

Since 2010, I am Associate Professor in Theory of Science at the Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science, University of Gothenburg.