Professor emeritus, Department of Social Medicine and Global Health, Lund University
Professor Larsson took his Ph.D. in sociology (1983) at Lund University and became associated professor 1989 in social work at Gothenburg University. In 1992 he was appointed as professor in social development at the Nordic School of Public Health. From 1997 to 2008 he was director of The Disability and Rehabilitation Research Centre at Lund university in corporation with other universities in southern Sweden. During the last years Larsson has been affiliated to the Department of Social Medicine and Global Health at the Medicine faculty at Lund University as his main scientific focus since many years is cross disciplinary research.
In the beginning of his career he worked mostly in the field of criminology and what at that time was titled deviant behaviour. He created the paradigm shift in prostitution from blaming the women to exploring motivation of the men. His doctoral dissertation demonstrated the how prostitutes was forced into the sex trade. Since Sweden 1999 as the first country criminalized the buying partners but decriminalized the selling this model had been into legislation in many European states but also in other parts of the world such as in South Korea.
In the last decades Dr Larsson’s research has mainly been geared to the sphere of disability, where he has led several projects with a multidisciplinary design. But he has done a considerable work also in sociology, social theory, social work, social policy, public health and international social development. He has written 25 books and hundreds of articles and book chapters alone or together with cowriters.
He has also been engaged in developing the infrastructure of higher education and science in Sweden and Scandinavia in several professional and academic organisations. He was initiating the Sweden association for research on social work (FORSA), which he chaired 1991–95. He took the initiative to found Socialvetenskaplig tidskrift (Swedish Journal of Social Research), which he edited 1994–2003. He was also one of the founders of the Nordic Network for Disability Research (NNDR), where he sat on the board from the start in 1996 until 2001 and was president of the Swedish Social Policy Association 2002–2008.
Internationally Dr Larsson has worked not at least with the preparing and realizing construction of the UN convention of rights for People with Disability as he was a board member of GLADNET, Global Applied Disability Research and Information Network on Employment and Training 2001–2011 and a member of the Executive Committee of RI, Rehabilitation International 2004–2008. He has also since many years been engaged in the International Consortium of Social Development, ICSD and is still a board member of its European Branch. The noted organisations have all had rolls as consultant status in the UN-system. Professor Stig Larsson himself is blind after many years as visually impaired with low vision.
Orientation, Mobility, Science, Theory and Praxis
By Professor em. Stig Larsson, Lund university
With this contribution I would like to highlight some of the main themes of the conference by using a selection of recently published works within the social sciences and humanities. The aim is to discuss fundamental ideas from theory of knowledge and philosophy that reflect how we organize society at large. I hope this can generate ideas for how we can support and train people with disabilities.
Among the works that will be discussed are those of Martin Hägglund in the USA, Hartmut Rosa in Germany, and Rutger Bregman in the Netherlands. I will try to analyze how some fundamental ideas govern the welfare system and shape how we organize assistance and training for persons living with blindness and visual impairment – including education, professional assistance, assistive technology and financial security. How such support systems are implemented is not only a function of political ideologies and the application of power in various societies, but also of traditions, religion and structures that affect individuals’ ways of coping with disability. The question is how the interplay between different sets of determinants, on various levels of abstraction, can be understood, within the seemingly limited area of orientation and mobility for visually impaired.
Hopefully, my contribution will shed light on some of the main social dimensions we will meet in future and thereby give insights into how orientation and mobility for the visually impaired can be facilitated.