Göran Therborn

Director of SCAS emeritus. Professor emeritus of Sociology and
Director of Research, University of Cambridge

Göran Therborn received his Ph.D. in Sociology from Lund University in 1974, and was Professor of Political Science at the Catholic University of Nijmegen in 1981-1987, Professor of Sociology at the University of Gothenburg in 1987-2003, and University Professor of Sociology at Uppsala University in 2003-2006. In 2006 he was selected Chair of Sociology at the University of Cambridge. He has held a number of temporary research and teaching positions; in the Americas from Madison, Wisconsin to Buenos Aires, in Asia from Tehran to Seoul, and in Europe from Barcelona to Budapest.

Therborn’s publications include a set of Marxist theoretical works (many times translated) from the 1970s: Science, Class and Society (1976); What Does the Ruling Class Do, When It Rules? (1978), and The Ideology of Power and the Power of Ideology (1980). An update on recent Marxism and post-Marxism appeared in 2009: From Marxism to Postmarxism?. The early theoretical works were followed by wide-ranging research on socio-political history and political sociology which resulted in long articles on such topics as the history of democracy (in the OECD countries and in Latin America), Swedish social formation and social democracy, and comparative public policy. The latter topic also resulted in the book Why Some Peoples are More Unemployed Than Others (1986).

Since the early 1990s, Therborn’s work has been oriented primarily
to studies of comparative modernities, European society, and global processes. Among the results of these efforts are a special issue of International Sociology (2000) on globalizations, and the book European Modernity and Beyond (1995), which has gone through three editions, in different languages. The book Between Sex and Power: Family in the World, 1900-2000 was published in 2004. Therborn has also edited and contributed keynote articles to several collective works on the topics: Modernities and Globalizations (1999), African Families in a Global Context (2004), Inequalities of the World (2006) and Asia and Europe in Globalization (with H. Haque Khondker, 2006). In preparation is The World After Globalization, scheduled for publication in 2010.

Central among Therborn’s current research interests are cities of power, the social significance and iconographic symbolism of capital cities in the world. So far, this research has resulted in several
articles and a special issue of the International Review of Sociology: “Eastern Drama. Capital Cities of Eastern Europe in the 20th Century” (ed., 2006, no. 2), and a special section on Southeast Asian capitals in the journal City (March 2009).

In September 2007, Therborn was awarded a doctorate honoris causa at Roskilde University. On October 1st 2008 Therborn retired from his Professorship in Uppsala, his Directorship at SCAS, and his Chair at Cambridge, but as Emeritus he is still Director of Research there.