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Education, Social Anthropology and Sociology

Educational researchers study upbringing, culture, education, learning and teaching. Social anthropologists study human beings in a cultural context to understand how people themselves experience and organise their world. Sociologists study how people relate to and interact with one another as individuals and as groups.


At Lund University, these three classic social sciences disciplines are included in the same department – the Department of Sociology. Common to all three is that they all seek to understand and explain how people organise themselves in social, cultural and historical contexts.

From contemporary issues to development theory

The department’s research reaches from empirical studies of central contemporary issues, over critical social analysis to the development of social sciences theory and methodology. Researchers carry out detailed studies in which groups, organisations, nations, cultures, religions, generations, epochs and traditions are compared and contrasted. Part of the research is funded by external research grants, but the researchers are also often commissioned by private and public principals to shed light on a problem or evaluate various initiatives. The department’s collective expertise covers environmental and development issues, learning processes, schools and education, political leadership and control, criminology, social policy and knowledge creation, among others.

International profile

The research has a strong international profile. The department cooperates with many leading universities in Scandinavia, Europe, Asia and the USA, but also has intensive collaboration with colleagues at Swedish higher education institutions.

Research Fields

Research into the philosophy and theory of social sciences, development studies, the sociology of science and qualitative methodology is nationally leading. There are also strong research teams empirically and theoretically studying social deviance and criminality, welfare policy, family life, working life and organisation, professions and culture.

Lund University has one of the few Swedish environments in which basic research in social anthropology is conducted, including visual anthropology. The department also contributes new perspectives on the philosophy and theory of education and has a particular focus on adult learning, adult education, higher education, working life and professionalisation. Power relations and social dividing lines, in particular on the basis of ethnicity, gender, sexuality and social class are the focus of much of the research at the department.

Some examples of research issues are: How does everyday life change when traditional norms and institutions are dissolved and replaced by new ones? How are meaning, knowledge, order and cohesiveness generated in a society where large groups are excluded from the labour market? How to manage the conflicts which arise when economic, social and political resources are unevenly distributed, both regionally and globally?


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