How are societies, organisations and individuals governed? Broadly speaking, this is the bedrock issue of sociological research in the field of governance. More specifically, this research may deal with overarching issues related to global processes and how the welfare state is organised at the national level, for example in order to determine the influence of politics, the market, civil society and experts. But it may also have to do with how organisations are governed and how we as individuals are encouraged or ordered to act in the preferred manner.
A number of ongoing and completed research projects at the Department are connected to this field of research, focusing on questions such as:
- How global governance processes work in local and national contexts. Research is ongoing here concerning power relationships in international aid to civil societies in the global South and the relationship between global climate policy and the environmental movement as well as global patterns of market-based governance of cities.
- How boundaries are drawn between politcs and science – for example in climate change politics or nuclear waste management, and how boundaries between legitimate or non-legitimate stakes/stakeholders are drawn when planning and decision making processes are opened up to include stakeholders or the general public.
- How traditional areas of social welfare are being affected by the institution of New Public Management and quasi-market solutions, within for example education, jobs initiatives and housing for homeless people.
- How new forms of government and self-regulation are being created in various markets to maintain trust or create the prerequisites for sustainable development and how companies and consumers are thereby being given greater responsibility for attaining these goals.
- How the activities of organisations and professions are governed using scorecard systems, scientific and evidence-based systematic reviews and normative standards within, for example, the police, school systems, healthcare, human resources management, or the exercise of public authority.
Examples of joint books produced within the confines of this research direction at the Department are Vetenskapligt medborgarskap [Scientific citizenship] (forthcoming, Studentlitteratur 2019), Transformations of the Swedish Welfare State – From Social Engineering to Governance? (Palgrave Macmillan 2012) and Social kontroll – övervakning, disciplinering och självreglering [Social control: monitoring, discipline and self-regulation] (Liber 2011). For some years now, there has also been a seminar series at the Department called ‘Governance/Governmentality’ to which we invite external and internal speakers to present research and theoretical perspectives on the field.