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The construction of objectivity - emotions in judicial decision-making

Research project
Active research
Project size
997 652
Project period
2017 - 2019
Project owner
Department of Sociology and Work Science

Short description

Abidance by the law requires trust in the judicial system to uphold rational and objective justice. But the legal positivist notion of objectivity as abstract is problematic, relying on a modernistic separation of emotion/reason into opposites. In contrast, research has shown that reason depends on emotions and that ’feeling’ the consequences of alternative action is fundamental to form rational decisions.

For legal actors this means that objective decision-making relies on emotional information and that sensibilities influence allocation of culpability. The aim is to study the emotive-cognitive concrete process of judicial decision-making in prosecution offices and courts, by following legal cases from prosecution, district court, to the court of appeal.


Stina Bergman Blix, project leader, Uppsala university

Moa Bladini, Department of Law , University of Gothenburg

Nina Törnqvist, Uppsala university

Åsa Wettergren, Department of Sociology and Work Science, University of Gothenburg