Mark Elam


Department of Sociology and Work Science
Visiting address
Skanstorget 18
41122 Göteborg
Room number
Postal address
Box 720
405 30 Göteborg

About Mark Elam

Background After earlier degree studies in the UK at Hull University (BA in Geography) and the London School of Economics (MSc in Geography), Mark Elam gained a doctoral degree in Technology and Social Change at Linköping University, Sweden in 1993. Subsequently, he held two postdoctoral appointments in Denmark at the Technical University of Denmark (1994-1995) and the Department of Sociology at the University of Copenhagen (1996-2000). He joined the University of Gothenburg in 2001 firstly as a researcher at the Section for Science and Technology Studies (STS) becoming a University Lecturer in Sociology in 2003. A Senior Lecturer from 2004, Mark was appointed Professor of Sociology at the University of Gothenburg in 2013. He is a member of the governing committee of the University of Gothenburg Learning and Media Technology Studio (LETStudio -, a cross-faculty research initiative established in 2010. During 2013-2016 Elam was part-time Guest Professor at the IT University of Copenhagen where he participated in the Technologies in Practice research group ( He is also currently a member of the governing board of the European Inter-University Association on Society, Science and Technology ( During 2019-2021 Elam is part-time Guest Professor at Tema Technology and Social Change, Linköping University where he is participating in the Values reesearch group (

Research Interests Elam pursues research in sociology and science and technology studies. This has led firstly to a concern with environmental and medical matters and controversy over how technological societies are to be legitimately governed. More specifically, Elam has in recent years been engaged in studies of the politics of Swedish and European nuclear waste management (together with Göran Sundqvist); the (bio)medicalization of cigarette smoking as a problem of nicotine addiction; patient-focussed care in theory and practice and digital infrastructuring in schools and healthcare.

Recent Research Projects 2010-2013 Principal Investigator for the project ‘Alternative States? The Swedish and British Affiliations with Second Wave Tobacco Harm Reduction Compared and Contrasted’ funded by the Swedish Research Council (VR).

2011-2014 Participating Researcher in the EC/EURATOM 7th Framework Programme project ‘International Socio-Technical Challenges for Implementing Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste’ (

2014-2017 Participating researcher in the project ‘The Challenges of Translating Person-Centred Care from Theory into Practice – Lessons to be Learnt from Core Projects within the University of Gothenburg Centre for Person-Centred Care (GPCC)’. Jointly funded by GPCC, the University of Gothenburg Learning and Media Technology Studio (LETStudio) and the University of Exeter Medical School, UK.

2015-2019 Participating Researcher in the project ‘Learning to Engage with Science and Technoscientific Issues in a Digital Landscape: The Arrival of Controversy Mapping as a Method for Digital Inquiry in Swedish Upper Secondary Schools’ funded by the Swedish Research Council (VR).

Teaching and Supervision Elam has long experience of teaching in sociology and science and technology studies in both Sweden and Denmark. He is currently Programme Director of the Master Programme in Sociology at the Department of Sociology and Work Science that is top ranked in Sweden. In recent years he has supervised doctoral projects on the move from free software to hardware hacking; contemporary movements and heroes within Swedish popular science; patient-focussed initiatives in the transformation of Swedish healthcare as well as neuroscience and transgender identity. He is interested to supervise further PhD projects combining perspectives from sociology and STS and welcomes inquiries from students.

Outreach Mark Elam’s research interests incorporate a long-standing concern with science and society relations and contemporary patterns of science communication. Through his participation in LETStudio he is currently involved in efforts to develop new digital tools and methods designed to broaden debate and discussion of science and technology in schools and museums/science centres. Also given his research on the challenges of managing radioactive waste safely, he has together with fellow researchers been involved in assisting communities hosting nuclear activities to re-negotiate their relations with nuclear industry and the nuclear futures confronting them.