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Knowledge in a Union

Staffan Edling (Universität Lund)
  • Wann 02.11.2022 ab 11:00 Uhr
  • Wo Robert K. Merton Zentrum für Wissenschaftsforschung, Schönhauser Allee 10/11, 10119 Berlin
  • iCal

How do political organizations produce versions of the society they act in? In what ways do social science theory and quantitative data interact with the collective interests that a political organization represents? In my doctoral research, I study how researchers at the Swedish trade union confederation the LO produce and communicate knowledge about Swedish society. The LO is a membership organization that brings together the various interests of 14 different blue-collar trade unions, and their central office in Stockholm employs around 20 people as researchers. These individuals are employed to produce a steady stream of reports, graphs and political comments, as well as to act as experts in labour movement settings, in government inquiries, on committees of public agencies and elsewhere. Drawing on interviews with researchers and others within the organization and on participatory observation of in-person and online events, my project seeks to give an answer to how political organizations produce knowledge, to what epistemic cultures and worlds they may engage with, and to how collective interests and knowledge can be co-produced and interact in such organizations. Theoretically, I draw on theory from science and technology studies, and primarily on research done within a neo-pragmatist, material semiotics framework. 


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