Research themes

Score conducts research with a focus on society's governance and organization. To describe and discuss our main research, and to structure the continuous discussion about future multidisciplinary research efforts, we use the concept of "themes".

Score's themes are intentionally broad and heterogeneous in nature. They accommodate different projects and allow different theoretical and methodological approaches. It is the research problems that are the important commonality. Researchers from all disciplines at Score participate in each theme.

Ongoing and intensive seminar discussions are a central element, not only in the formulation of a theme but also throughout its lifetime. Joint book projects have proven to be a particularly successful form of collaboration for conducting thematic research based on different projects.


Theme: Organizing Knowledge

In this research theme we study the processes in which knowledge is produced, categorized, evaluated, legitimized and applied. The overall objective is to better understand how knowledge production and the use of knowledge in society are organized.

Broad concepts such as “the knowledge society” demonstrate the relevance of the topic, but also the need to study how the processes in which knowledge is created and used are organized, and to make the levels of analysis and frames of reference for doing this more tangible. More specifically, our interest lies in processes where knowledge is produced, spread, legitimized, categorized and applied in different settings such as decision-making, advice and strategy development, as well as evaluation of resources, performance and outcomes.

We ask questions like: How are competence and expertise formalized and codified into rules, standards, advice, strategies, rankings, quantifications and calculations, accounting systems, etc.? Who are the legitimate experts here? What are the disciplinary background underlying these experts? How does a particular expert or expertise become legitimate? How is it done, what types of actors do it, where does it occur, and to what end?

Within the theme we develop theories about organizing knowledge in relation to social theory of society as a whole.

Theme established 2011.

Photo: Juliana Wiklund



Theme: Organizing Markets

In this research theme we study conscious attempts to organize markets. The overall objective is to understand what these attempts to organize markets mean for society.

Many actors try to organize markets: states, companies, international organizations, standards organizations, lobby organizations, volunteer organizations, trade organizations. We investigate the ways in which these organizations attempt to organize markets and how they work.

We ask questions like: How are buyers and sellers created and shaped, and by whom? How and by whom are products created and classified in order to be understood as environmentally friendly and socially equitable? Who monitors the markets, and how? How are markets represented in narratives, statistics, tables? How are different representations and tools used to create and shape markets? How do these types of representations influence policy decisions and other decision-making regarding market governance?

Within the theme we develop theories to explain how markets are organized, how they integrate with and influence each other, the strategies used, and the outcomes of organizing markets.

Theme established 2005.

Photo: Juliana wiklund



Theme: Democracy, Legitimacy and Power

In this research theme we study how political and policy power are formed and legitimized by organization and the democratic consequences of this.

Many organizations take part in the shaping of politics and policy. In addition to obvious actors like states and international inter-governmental organizations – lobby organizations, trade organizations, think tanks, consultants, non-profit organizations and companies actively work to influence politics and policy locally and globally. We seek to understand the democratic consequences of a society marked by increased complexity where questions about transparency, influence and responsibility in relation to politics and policy are far from easy to answer.

We ask questions like: How can individuals and groups gain influence in political/policy decisions? How do different governance organizations gain legitimacy in the eyes of the surrounding environment? How do they gain authority for their decisions? And how can they be held accountable for them?

Within the theme we develop theories about who controls, has access to, and takes responsibility for the public sector, which is constantly shaped and reshaped at the intersection of state, market and civil society.

Theme established 2003.

Photo: Juliana Wiklund



Theme: Rule Setting and Rule Following

In this research theme we study how rules and regulatory systems are created, organized, and adopted by and within organizations. The overall objective is to understand the expansion of different forms of rules in the organization of society.

This theme emerged during the 1990s based on the observation that de-regulation led to re-regulation and more regulation, both nationally and transnationally. The research within the theme has continued in this vein, focusing on the expansion of organization and organizing as the answer to a multitude of problems. We seek to understand regulatory processes such as standardization, certification, accreditation, bureaucratization, and “soft law”, with particular focus on rules that lack the binding sanctions that laws have.

We ask questions like: How are rules and regulatory systems created, by whom, and is there competition between them? Who controls that rules are followed, and how do these controllers establish themselves as credible and “independent”? How are rules and regulation spread? How are rules and regulations adopted by organizations? How do organizations gain legitimacy for their regulatory attempts? How do rules gain authority?

Within the theme we develop theories about authority, legitimacy and independence, as well as the state’s role in various regulatory processes and the outcomes of regulation.

Theme established 1998.

Photo: Juliana Wiklund


On this page