Research / Research areas

Politics, Economy and the Organisation of Society

Graphic element for the research area of Politics, Economy and the Organization of Society

The research area consists of four academic disciplines: Business Studies, Economics, Political Science and Sociology.

About the area

Politics, Economy and the Organisation of Society is primarily concerned with change and interaction in modern societies. It combines interdisciplinary research with studies that are anchored in Business Studies, Economics, Political Science or Sociology. All four disciplines have broad theoretical aims and conduct research in many parts of the world. However, all disciplines have strong research records within Baltic and East European studies.

Topics within the research area

In modern society, politics, markets and people's everyday lives are all closely interconnected. To understand social change, we must study the  interplay between these various institutions. We need to examine how  states, markets and the voluntary sector are organised, as well as the connections between them.
Social relationships and meetings points between people are governed by concepts, standards and resources that are created within the framework of institutions and organisations. Research in the area of Politics, Economy and the Organisation of Society studies change and interaction in the modern social world.

Three societal levels

Politics, Economy and the Organisation of Society is a strong research area at Södertörn University, encompassing the disciplines of Business Administration, Sociology and Political Science. Social organisation, legitimacy and regulation, in a broad sense, are its focus. Researchers and doctoral students have studied various types of organisation (states, bureaucracies, international organisations, companies, voluntary organisations), these organisations' relationships with each other and their effects on people's lives. Three distinct but interconnected societal levels – the institutional, the organisational and the interpersonal – have been analysed.

A broad framework for cooperation...

Politics, Economy and the Organisation of Society rests on a broad framework of institutional and organisation theory.

Empirically, studies may touch on many different areas. For example, researchers in business studies are interested in the space available to entrepreneurs to act and in the strength of institutions such as financial control and accounting.

Political scientists investigate the ways in which ideas about democracy and governance are expressed differently in different national contexts, but also in how new movements can emerge as one set dominant ideas gives way to others.

Sociologists look into how the organisation of the welfare state is governed by certain conceptions and standards, but also by societal power relationships, and how organisation and regulation in turn affect people's lives.

What we have in common is that we study how the actions of states, businesses and other collective and individual actors are both limited and enabled by institutions and organisations. Institutional linkage, organisational interweaving and interpersonal space are thus the three aspects of ongoing social change in which we are interested.
The processes that we study are characterised by order and disorder, mutual understanding and conflict, change and continuity, inclusion and exclusion. They result in tangible spatial and social asymmetries: wealth is concentrated in particular places while we observe the growth of new urban (sometimes ethnic) underclasses; some regions grow in strength while others stagnate; some groups enjoy improved health and increasing longevity, while others do not. Interaction and interweaving give rise to social and political tensions that are expressed as struggles for resources, but also as a struggle to define what comprises problems and possible solutions.

...with considerable variation

Within this broad, shared theoretical approach in the research area, there is also considerable variation in the theories used in the "middle range", partly due to the empirical phenomena that are studied. Our focus is, on the one hand, general: it aspires to understand new forms for national, European and global governance and their potential consequences, including for democracy and efficiency.

On the other hand, our focus is also specific: it is concerned with the forces behind change, and with meaning and consequences within specific political areas – welfare policies, healthcare, public health, the labour market, integration, migration, culture, urban policies and European politics.

Cooperation within the area makes it possible to allow diverse empirical studies to contribute to broader theoretical understanding.