Katarina Winter

Katarina Winter


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Works at Department of Criminology
Visiting address Universitetsvägen 10 C, plan 6
Room C 688
Postal address Kriminologiska institutionen 106 91 Stockholm

About me

PhD in sociology and post-doc in criminology interested in the relationships between experts and publics at large and within the addiction field specifically. Winter’s research positions within Science and Technology Studies and classical sociological theory on sociability and conversation analysis to explore mundane conversational routines and conversational infrastructures as intrinsic parts of expert communication processes. Winter’s thesis explored communication of addiction expertise as processes of coproduction in three arenas: the media, public conferences, and politics. Her studies have shown that publics are not only recipients of expertise but also active enablers of how expertise comes into being in everyday society, as publics engage with expertise through filtering and intertwining expertise through their personal experiences. A specific finding is how sociability in the form of mundane conversational routines is an intrinsic part of knowledge coproduction processes. Introducing the concept of conversational coproduction, which combines STS (Science and Technology Studies) and classical sociological conversation analysis, her work highlights how sociability involved in expert communication is crucial for (de)establishing relations and making expertise flow or freeze in local coproducing processes as well as for understanding consequences of expert communication and its relation to public participation and democracy. In other words, conversational coproduction centers on how sociability and everyday experiences and expectations affect what actually can be communicated as expertise and how this takes place.

In Winter’s current postdoctoral position at the Department of Criminology, Stockholm University in the project Scientific state or state science? The knowledge-base of Swedish welfare research and welfare policy 1911-2015 (funded by RJ, project leader professor Johan Edman, project members Lena Eriksson, Department of Public Health Sciences and Helena Bergman, Södertörn University), she continues these ambitions through focusing on the use of public engagement in missive letters, internal and external commission reports and government bills. The letters and reports constitute conversational infrastructures that simultaneously belong to the public and political society, and this plural belonging offers certain possibilities in framing and influencing political issues. Winter also has an affiliation to the Sociology Department at Stockholm University, where she teaches 30 %.

Winter is engaged as an Associate editor of the journal Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs (

Winter is also engaged in an interdisciplinary project together with the choreographer Nadja Hjorton. In their sociological/chorographical projects Finding Memory and Pocket of Time, they explore how to deconstruct and transform memories and experiences of time and space. During 2021 they will continue working with the third and final piece: Talking Beyond. Finding Memory, Pocket of time and now Talking beyond are projects that all pose questions about the society and the individual, but they now move from memories and time to the conversation as an object of study. The third phase will focus on transformations of normative conversation logics, a process in which several, at first sight, contradictory conversation logics and practices are forced to each other.

Together with other researchers at Stockholm University, Winter worked as an interpreter in the opening piece This Progress (Tino Sehgal) at Accelerator, Stockholm University’s new exhibition space ( Winter also participates in Accelerator’s researcher collaboration (


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2020. Katarina Winter. Minerva

    This study investigates the interaction between civil servants and politicians in a planning committee in a Swedish county council. As the committees are venues for preparation of future decision-making, civil servants and others are invited to inform and report to the politicians on different topics. The aim is to explore this local interaction process based on an analysis of requests and responses. It is shown that the communication between civil servants and politicians is pervaded by sociability in the form of conversational routines. The article aims to recognize this sociability as an intrinsic part of knowledge coproduction processes. Civil servants and politicians negotiate different types of professional and common knowledge through routines that dislocate time, responsibility, roles, and protocol order. These lubricants – important but often circumvented in studies of policy-making – are explored as instances of conversational coproduction.

  • Thesis (Doc) Everybody knows?
    2019. Katarina Winter (et al.).

    The coproduction idiom within Science and Technology Studies (STS) centers on how science and society produce knowledge together. The current thesis explores expert communication – which is immersed in the relationship between science and society – as a case for understanding such coproducing processes. Expert communication is often characterized as a democratic initiative of knowledge enlightenment. But we know less about the consequences that communication initiatives bring. For instance, while groups of publics and experts are large and heterogeneous, expert communication often involves simplified and dichotomized relationships between these groups. The aim of this thesis is to understand the practice of expert communication in terms of how expertise is communicated and received. Who gets to represent experts and publics, in what ways and in which situations, and how do they engage with expertise?

    Expert communication takes place in all kinds of fields. The focus of this thesis is communication of addiction expertise. The addiction field makes a suitable case for studying co-constitutive practices of communication, as it is broad and disparate, and filled with different contradictory perspectives, actors and relations. The current study explores communication of addiction expertise through three cases that involve different types of experts and publics, as well as different dimensions of the expert/public relationships and of communication as a process of coproduction: Newspaper readers’ interpretations of media representations of biomedical addiction expertise, conference participants’ collaboration within a conference on codependency, and civil servants’ and politicians’ interaction within county council committee meetings. Drawing on STS approaches of coproduction of knowledge and classical sociological conversation analysis, the thesis explores questions of how, what, and whose knowledge is communicated and received, and what activities and actors are involved in these processes. A specific focus is put on how sociability in the form of conversational routines is productive, as sociability carries expertise and establishes relations between actors involved in coproducing processes of communication.

    Publics are not only recipients of expertise but also active enablers of how expertise comes into being in the everyday society, as publics engage with expertise through filtering and intertwining expertise through and with their personal experiences. Expertise, at least regarding human and social activities such as addiction, is thus bound to everyday experiences and lives. It is also shown how certain expertise, certain experiences, and certain actors and victims of addiction related problems are included while others are excluded. For example, biomedical explanations such as the reward system and the brain disease model seem to co-exist well with peoples’ personal experiences in contrast to social scientific explanations. Moreover, certain actors manage to draw on personal experiences in multiple roles as both experts and publics. Introducing the concept of conversational coproduction, the studies also highlight the sociability and conversational routines involved in expert communication as crucial for (de)establishing relations and making expertise flow or freeze in local coproducing processes as well as for understanding consequences of expert communication and its relation to public participation and democracy.

  • 2018. Katarina Winter. Public Understanding of Science

    Arenas where experts interact with publics are useful platforms for communication and interaction between actors in the field of public health: researchers, practitioners, clinicians, patients, and laypersons. Such coalitions are central to the analysis of knowledge coproduction. This study investigates an initiative for assembling expert and other significant knowledge which seeks to create better interventions and solutions to addiction-related problems, in this case codependency. But what and whose knowledge is communicated, and how? The study explores how processes of repetition, claim-coupling, and enthusiasm produce a community based on three boundary beliefs: (1) victimized codependent children failed by an impaired society; (2) the power of daring and sharing; and (3) the (brain) disease model as the scientific representative and explanation for (co)dependence. These processes have legitimized future hopes in certain suffering actors, certain lived and professional expertise and also excluded social scientific critique, existing interventions, and alternative accounts.

  • 2016. Katarina Winter. Contemporary Drug Problems 43 (1), 25-46

    The phenomenon of addiction enables studies of how society governs citizens and produces (healthy) bodies through classifications and definitions within treatment, science, and politics. Definitions and explanations of addiction change over time, and collective narratives of addiction in society are shared between scientific, official, and colloquial discourses. It is thus reasonable to argue that scientists, clinicians, and practitioners, as well as politicians, journalists, and laypersons, co-create addiction as a (bio)medical, social, and cultural phenomenon defined by varying actions, experiences, contexts, and meanings. The mass media is a key link between science and citizens. Explanations and definitions of the nature and causes of, and solutions for, addiction are provided by science and communicated to the rest of the society in popular scientific representations. While the language of scientific discourse is actively used, reproduced, and redefined in everyday language, laypersons are seldom acknowledged as active participants in studies of knowledge coproduction. This study examines how 25 newspaper readers interpret and explain dimensions of addiction phenomena through their own knowledge and interpretation of scientific representations in the media. The analysis shows how (popular) scientific biomedical addiction discourse interacts with newspaper readers’ interpretations, focusing on lay discussion of the causes of and solutions for addiction, how lay coproduction of scientific explanations is made, and how we can understand it. The study contributes to our understanding of the complex network of interacting and competing actors coproducing knowledge of addiction, emphasizing laypersons’ involvement in this process.

  • 2019. Katarina Winter.
  • 2013. Alexandra Bogren, Katarina Winter. Drugs and Alcohol Today 13 (1), 28-35

    Purpose - A growing body of social research analyzes how the biomedical interest in detailed molecular aspects of our bodies (genes, biomarkers, DNA) affect everyday notions of health, risk, and responsibility for health problems. However, this research focus has been largely neglected in social alcohol research. The purpose of this paper is to report on some early findings from a study of media portrayals of biomedical alcohol research and to present a rationale for studying biomedical alcohol research more broadly.

    Design/methodology/approach - The empirical discussion is based on textual analysis of 90 newspaper articles published in Swedish newspapers between 1995 and 2010 and one-on-one semi-structured interviews with 24 newspaper readers about their interpretation of the newspaper portrayals. The motives for studying biomedical alcohol research more broadly are discussed in relation to existing research and theories of biomedicalization.

    Findings - Firstly, we find that a large majority of the newspapers cite biomedical researchers to explain the mechanisms of addiction, and that biomedical research is often presented as revolutionary in scope. However, journalists also act as storytellers who explain the biomedical research results to readers. The reward system proved to be a central notion among the interviewees, who had their own, different and varying definitions of the concept. Secondly, we suggest a framework for analyzing how biomedical knowledge is produced, communicated and utilized by three types of key actors.

    Originality/value - The study presents a novel framework for studying biomedical alcohol research.

  • 2013. Katarina Winter, Alexandra Bogren. Women's Studies 37, 53-63

    During recent decades, biomedical research has increasingly entered the press scene, particularly in media stories of healthy bodies and lifestyles. One of the fields where this is visible is in the discussion of alcohol consumption and problems, a field where references to biological sex differences are common. This paper analyzes how facts about sexed bodily difference are made real in Swedish newspaper stories of biomedical alcohol research. Our findings indicate that newspapers represent the body at different levels of abstraction; from detailed descriptions at the molecular level (hormones and genes), through discussion at the molar level (body parts, organs and disease), to more general discussion at the social level (inner nature, sensitivity, and responsibility). We also find a double metaphorical meaning of the word alcohol: alcohol is a solution (a soluble liquid) that also dissolves the dimorphism of bodily sex difference.

Show all publications by Katarina Winter at Stockholm University

Last updated: January 18, 2021

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