Background and activities

Peter Sohlberg. Ph.D. Uppsala University, professor of philosophy of social sciences, SVT-Faculty NTNU. Associate professor of sociology Uppsala University.

Here I am presenting the first professor in Sociology in Sweden, and the founder of the Sociology department in Uppsala – Torgny Segerstedt (In Swedish). As rektor for Uppsala University (1955-1978) and as a member of the Swedish Academy he was a strong actor in favour of academic freedom and the autonomy of the universities.  

My general research interests:

  • Philosophy of science, with special focus on “knowledge-generating” research strategies.
  • Research methodology from a philosophy of science perspective.
  • Functionalism and functional reasoning in social science.
  • Sociological theory, from the classics to contemporary theory.
  • Actor- and system-vocabularies and their implications for social science.
  • The assessment of quality in the academic field.

Presently I am working with themes in the intersection between philosophy of science and social science. I am particularly interested in classic system theoretical approaches and their potential for understanding social design activity and the complex outcome of social processes. I have recently written a monograph describing classic functionalist reasoning and its contemporary methodological relevance: Functional construction work in social science: The lost heritage (in press).

Together with professor Håkon Leiulfsrud, Department of sociology and political science, NTNU, I have recently finalized the sociological project Sociological Theory and Practice Revisited, financed by the Norwegian Research Council. 

Publications in The STPR project

Theory in action: Theoretical constructionism. (eds. Peter Sohlberg & Håkon Leiulfsrud).

Concepts in action: Conceptual constructionism. (eds. Håkon Leiulfsrud & Peter Sohlberg).

Constructing the object in social science (In press, Brill, eds. Håkon Leiulfsrud & Peter Sohlberg).

My principal educational activity is presently that I each term teach a course in philosophy of science for doctoral students at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Technology Management, NTNU. The course, SFEL8000, is a methodologically oriented course in philosophy of science where the craft of social science is problematized from a philosophical perspective.

Theoretical activities as e.g. descriptions, definitions, classifications, inferences, explanations and the application of theories are discussed and problematized from a philosophy of science perspective. The main idea is to make visible the choices made in everyday scientific activity and their theoretical implications, rather than to begin with general and fixed paradigmatic standpoints. The aim is to make it possible for the participants to work with their own thesis-project as a material for the course.

I have also taught similar Ph.D-courses in philosophy of social science at the Faculty of social sciences, Stockholm university (in collaboration with professor Lars Udéhn) and at Linköping University, Sweden (as a National Research School). I also participate in courses of sociological theory at the Department of sociology and political science, NTNU.

I work as associate editor for International Journal of Social Welfare.

Scientific, academic and artistic work

A selection of recent journal publications, artistic productions, books, including book and report excerpts. See all publications in the database


Part of book/report

  • Sohlberg, Peter. (2018) What Do We Do with Norms—Conform, Break, Understand or Explain?. Concepts in Action. Conceptual Constructionism..
  • Sohlberg, Peter; Leiulfsrud, Håkon. (2018) Conceptual Constructionism: An Introduction. Concepts in Action. Conceptual Constructionism..
  • Sohlberg, Peter. (2016) A Thick Description of Robert K. Merton's Middle Range Theory - Manifest Properties and Latent Ambivalence. Theory in Action. Theoretical Constructionism.
  • Sohlberg, Peter; Leiulfsrud, Håkon. (2016) Theory and Theoretical Operations. Theory in Action. Theoretical Constructionism.
  • Leiulfsrud, Håkon; Sohlberg, Peter. (2010) Social ojämlikhet, sociala klasser och strukturperpspektiv. Samhällsproblem.