111.4 Investigating power and democracy

Wednesday, August 1, 2012: 1:15 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Hans Petter SAND , University of Agder, Norway
Investigating Power and Democracy

The first of two investigations of power and democracy were conducted in Norway from 1972 to 1981.The final report appeared in 1982.It was initiated by the Norwegian parliament. The investigation was led by sociology-professor Gudmund Hernes and was inspired by,at that time, recent American sociology and game theory and based on Max Weber's definition of power. The report focused particularly on the increased power of mass media and organized interest groups and on how the state was split into sectors where the negiotiating parties had more common than conflicting interests. This was called the theory of "the segmented state". The second investigation was also initiated by the Norwegian parliament,named the "investigation of power and democracy" and ran from 1998 to 2003. The investigation was led by professor of political science Oyvind Osterud. Osterud was working in the tradition of the well-known Norwegian political sociologist Stein Rokkan.Another central actor in the investigation was sociology-professor Fredrik Engelstad. They found that the most important change of power relations in Norway was that democracy as a formal system of decision-making was retreating. What happened in the formal political channels got less significance. Public reform movements and mobilizing mass-parties were weakened.

These themes will be the topic of my paper. As a central work of clinical sociology in Norway it will be viewed in the context of clinical sociology in the country