Mellan kunskap och ideologi

År: 2015// Projektledare: Stefan Einarsson// Anslagsförvaltare: Handelshögskolan i Stockholm// Område: Ekonomi// Belopp: 5 799 578 kr

Medsökande: Marta Reuter, Handelshögskolan i Stockholm; Pelle Åberg, Ersta Sköndal Högskola

 

 

Vår forskning

Mellan kunskap och ideologi: 
Individuella aktörers roll i reproduktionen
av motstridiga institutionella logiker 

Akademisk kunskap och expertis spelar en allt viktigare roll i utformningen av politiken i dagens samhälle. I Sverige finns en lång tradition av att låta intresseorganisationer komma till tals i policyprocesser. Samtidigt har vi under de senaste decennierna sett en betydande ökning av antalet policyinstitut eller ”tankesmedjor” som försöker påverka politiken genom att producera forskning och använda den som hävstång i den offentliga debatten. Vi vet dock lite om hur dessa organisationer konstruerar, förhandlar och organiserar förhållandet mellan forskning och opinionsbildning i sin verksamhet.

Syftet med projektet är att studera denna viktiga dimension av tankesmedjornas verksamhet. Vi fokuserar på svenska tankesmedjor, vars uppdrag omfattar både forskning och opinionsbildning och vars verksamhet således innefattar de två olika institutionella logiker som styr kunskapsproduktion respektive ideologiproduktion.

Med hjälp av intervjuer, dokumentanalys och observationer studeras hur individuella aktörer (re-) producerar och/eller omförhandlar förhållandet mellan forskning och opinionsbildning inom organisationerna, vilka strategier de använder samt på vilka arenor detta sker. Även vilka praktiska utmaningar det kan innebära för en organisation att producera forskning och få policygenomslag undersöks.

Studien kommer att öka vår förståelse för hur olika institutionella logiker samspelar och vilken roll individuella aktörer spelar i detta samspel, för hur kunskap används som ett politiskt verktyg samt för tankesmedjor och deras allt viktigare roll i svensk politik. 

Research

Academic knowledge and expertise play important roles in policy-making processes today and are often used instrumentally as political tools, employed to lend academic legitimacy to political and/or ideological claims and proposals (Bulmer, 1982; Radaelli, 1999; Weiss, 1991; see also Eriksson, Karlsson & Reuter 2010). While this phenomenon is not new, recent decades have witnessed a significant increase in the number of organizations that seek to influence policy by producing research and using it as leverage in the public debate. Little is known, however, about how such organizations construct, negotiate and organize the relationship between research and advocacy in their activities, which limits our understanding of their political agency.

 In Sweden there is a long tradition of involving civil society actors in policy research and policy-making. An expression of this is the way work with Government Official Reports (SOU:s) has been organized, where non-state actors and interest organizations traditionally have been taking an active part. Close connections between the state and various interest organizations and popular movements have been an important part of the Swedish model (Lewin 1992, Micheletti 1994, Reuter 2011, Rothstein 1992, Wijkström, Einarsson & Larsson 2004, Åberg 2013). In recent years, policy institutes or “think tanks” have also emerged as an increasingly visible actor in the Swedish public debate. They are a new kind of “organizational animal” in Swedish civil society, bringing with them new ways of organizing policy research as well as new ways of using research for political purposes. However, neither in the context of the “old” state-commissioned policy research nor in the new context of think tank activity, has the management of the relationship between research and advocacy within such organizations been studied in any depth. The ambition of the proposed research is to address this gap. 

The project will focus on think tanks, defined here as organizations with the explicit dual mission of (academic) research and (political) advocacy, either in a specific policy field or with a broader societal focus (Bertelli & Wenger 2009, McGann 2007), and whose activity thus includes the two distinct and seemingly incompatible institutional logics of knowledge production and ideology production. While conflicting institutional logics have received attention in organizational studies in recent years (e.g. Pache & Santos, 2010; Purdy & Gray, 2009), we would like to zoom in on a hitherto under-researched dimension, namely how individual actors and actions within organizations containing potentially conflicting logics affect the production and re-production of such logics (Lawrence & Suddaby, 2006; McPherson & Sauder, 2013; Thornton et al, 2012). The aim of the study will thus be to examine the ways in which the relationship between two logics of knowledge production and ideology production is constructed, negotiated and organized within think tanks, with focus on the intra-organizational actors (individuals) who produce and reproduce these organizationally situated logics, and on the intra-organizational arenas where this is done. 

The analytical framework of the research will be anchored in new institutionalist organizational theory, more specifically in the concepts of institutional work and institutional logics. The following theoretical research question is posed: How do actions by individual, intra-organizational actors translate into the production and reproduction of organizationally situated institutional logics in multi-logic settings? Empirically, the study will focus on Swedish think tanks, and its empirical aim will be to contribute to our knowledge of this hitherto under-researched type of actor on the Swedish political arena. 

Mellan kunskap och ideologi

Svensk politik har länge haft en tradition av att låta andra aktörer än de politiska partierna medverka i policyprocesser av olika slag.…

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