Photo credits:
Mikael Wallerstedt

Sofia Näsström

Fellow, SCAS.
Professor of Political Science, Uppsala University

Sofia Näsström is a professor at the Department of Government, Uppsala University. She
specialises in political theory, and is the author of several books and articles, including The
Spirit of Democracy: Corruption, Disintegration, Renewal
(OUP 2021), “The challenge of
the all-affected principle” in Political Studies, and “The legitimacy of the people” in Political
. Näsström has been a research fellow at European University Institute in Florence
(2004–05) and Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (spring 2016), and a visiting scholar
at Columbia University, the New School of Social Research, New York, and Nuffield College,
University of Oxford.

In her most recent book, The Spirit of Democracy, Näsström draws on the work of Montesquieu
to reconceive the ways in which we conceptualize modern democracy: from sovereignty to spirit.
According to Montesquieu, different political forms are animated and sustained by different spirits:
a republic by virtue, a monarchy by honour, and a despotic regime form by fear. In the book,
Näsström argues that modern democracy is a sui generis political form animated and sustained
by a spirit of emancipation. On this basis, she develops a new theoretical framework for studying
the corruption, disintegration and renewal of democracy—what it is, how it begins, and where in
society it plays out.

In addition to her academic work, Näsström is active in liberal education. She is the author of
Demokrati. En liten bok om en stor sak (Democracy: A small book about a big idea; in Swedish),
which was awarded the Disapriset Prize by Uppsala University in 2021.

As a SCAS Fellow, Näsström will work on a new book, Democracy and the Social Question.
It examines the reasons for excluding “the social question”— social and economic inequality—
from the concept of democracy, and what it would mean to integrate it.

This information is accurate as of the academic year 2022-23.