Stockholm university

Mikaela SundbergProfessor of Sociology

About me

I am a Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology, Stockholm University, and Director of Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research (SCORE). I am also affiliated researcher with the Centre for Multidisciplinary Research on Religion and Society (CRS), Uppsala University.


My research spans several substantive and theoretical fields, including organizational sociology, microsociology, science and technology studies, sociology of science, sociology of religion, and military sociology.

I have a longstanding interest in various aspects of scientific practices, in particular modelling and numerical simulations. Based on two research grants funded by the Swedish research council, I have published work on this in, for example, Social Studies of Science, Science, Technology and Human Values, and Science & Technology Studies.

I also have an expertise in voluntary total institutions. Based on extensive ethnographic work, the book A Sociology of the Total Organization: Atomistic Unity in the French Foreign Legion (Routledge, 2015) examines the organization of everyday life inside the regiments of the French Foreign Legion as a total institution. The project was funded by the Swedish Research Council.

My new book is based on research within Organizing Monastic Life, a project also funded by the Swedish Research Council. Fraternal Relations in Monasteries: The Laboratory of Love (Routledge, 2022) explores social relations in French monasteries of the Cistercian Order of Strict Observance, one of the strictest cloistered orders of the Catholic Church. People enter Catholic monasteries to dedicate themselves to religious life and the relationship with fellow monks and nuns is essential for this vocation. Conceptualizing fraternal relations as a decided, collectivist, egalitarian form of relation prescribing brotherly love, this book shows the tensions between monastic ideals and   everyday cloistered life.

My research on monasteries has also appeared in journals such as Sociology, Current Sociology, and European Journal of Sociology. 

Selected publications

Sundberg, M. (2022) Fraternal Relations in Monasteries: The Laboratory of Love. Routledge.

Sundberg, M. (2022) "Total Institutions" in Hviid Jacobsen, M. and Smith, G. (eds) Routledge International Handbook of Goffman Studies. Routledge.

Sundberg, M.  (2021) Differences in Secondary Adjustments among Monks and Nuns. Current Sociology 69 (6).

Sundberg, M. (2020) The Politics of Monastic Life. Opportunities for Exit and Voice in a Voluntary Total Institution. European Journal of Sociology 61 (1).

Sundberg, M. (2019) "You can't just stick with those you like"- Why friendship practices threaten fraternal life in Cistercian monasteries. Sociology 53(6).

Sundberg, M (2019) Work practices, normative control and ascetic responsibilization in Cistercian monasteries. Journal of Management, Spirituality and Religion. 16 (5).

Sundberg, M. (2019) Brotherhood as a social relationship. In Ahrne, G. and Brunsson, N (eds) Organization outside Organization. The Abundance of Partial Organization in Social Life. Cambridge University Press.

Sundberg, M. (2015) A Sociology of the Total Organization: Atomistic Unity in the French Foreign Legion. Routledge.

Sundberg, M. (2012) Creating Convincing Simulations in Astrophysics, Science, Technology and Human Values, 37(1).

Sundberg, M. (2011) The Dynamics of Coordinated Comparisons: How simulationists in Astrophysics, Oceanography and Meteorology create Standards for Results, Social Studies of Science, 41(1).

Sundberg, M. (2010) Cultures of Simulations vs. Cultures of Calculations? The Development of Simulation Practices in Meteorology and Astrophysics, Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 41(3).

Sundberg, M. (2010) Organizing Simulation Code Collectives, Science & Technology Studies, 23(1).

Sundberg, M. (2009) The Everyday World of Simulation Modelling: The Construction of Parameterizations in Meteorology, Science, Technology and Human Values, 34 (2).

Sundberg, M. (2007) Parameterizations as Boundary Objects on the Climate Arena, Social Studies of Science 37 (3).

Sundberg, M. (2007) Mobilizing Networks. Researcher Roles in Atmospheric Science, Acta Sociologica, 50(3).

Sundberg, M. (2006) Credulous Modellers and Suspicious Experimentalists? Comparison of Model Output and Data in Meteorological Simulation Modelling,  Science & Technology Studies, 19(1).

Research projects