Troels Schultz Larsen

40498PhD. assistant professor (adjunkt)
Department of Society & Globalisation
Roskilde University

Biography and research interests:

I have a Ba. in Sociawissenschaft, a Ba. in international development and a Msc. (cadidatum) in Public administration, and last but not least a Ph.d. in social science (Urban and Political sociology) so what does that make me? Personally I think of my research as foremost interdisciplinary but firmly rooted in (broadly speaking) historically-specific praxis-theory and Pierre Bourdieus research program understood as a reflexive sociological toolbox. Other favorite authors are (to mention a few) Loïc Wacquant, Antonio Gramsci, C. Wright Mills, Max Weber, Frederich Engels, Karl Marx, Leon Trotsky, Ervin Goffman, Stuart Hall and Eric Swyngedow. The fields I have conducted research in range from: ‘Internetdating and the structure and dynamics of the matrimonial market’, ‘Elderly and the use of ICT’, ‘The production and reproduction of dilapidated urban areas in Denmark and the field of area based social work’, and ‘Innovation and public management – structure and dynamics of the bureaucratic field’

Past and Present research:

At present I’m attached to the research project CLIPS – Collaborative Innovation in the Public Sector. CLIPS is a major research project with more than 25 researcher from six different institutions collaborating. The main goal of the overall project is to identify drivers and barriers to collaborative innovation and to stimulate new and creative public initiatives. The scientific ambition of the CLIPS project is to shed light on the significance of learning-based cooperation, institutional design and the management of innovative processes in the public sector. Under to overall CLIPS umbrella I’m working in the area of Public safety in relation to how the public sector tries to improve public safety in innovative ways. In this line of research I have recently conducted a one year field study with the North Zeeland police in relation to a new project using citizen-collaboration via mobile phones to discourage/catch burglars. The interest of the project is however not whether or not the police catches any thief’s but how the resent (neoliberal) reorganization of the Danish police has affected the organization. The Danish police was the last of the large public domains/resorts to be reformed from a service based internal mode of governance to a “modern” budget-control mode of governance and management. Thus this specific case analysis is critical at shredding light on the transformations and struggles of the bureaucratic field. Secondly a strain of research here focuses on how the police uses new forms on collaboration and civic/social policing in handling the youth of the dilapidated urban areas and gang members and on the internal controversies and struggles between the social/civic branches of the police (based at the small local station) and the military/tactical branches of the police (the reaction force is based at the central station) in dealing with this youth. Thus this line of research deals with division of the leaft and the right hand of the state in the bureaucratic field. The third and last line of research in this project relates to a exploration of the profiles and dispositions of the public managers of professions and how management as science, a new social formation is struggling to create a relatively autonomous space and a profession within and in relation to the bureaucratic field.

My Ph.D dissertation related to the production and the reproduction of deprived urban areas in Denmark as a part of the research project Segregation Local Integration and Employment (SLIB). Deprived urban areas in the context of the Danish welfare state are as sociological research objects difficult to get a hold on. The is due to the facts that not only are there multiple themes at stake at the same time (such as place, class and ethnicity) but one must also analytically account for the multiple and overlapping fields (the housing market, the labour market, the educational market, the family etc.) that all have effects on life and practice in these places. The simultaneousness consists in the multiple dominated positions of the residents in the deprived urban areas – that is their simultaneousness in taking the lowest or most dominated social positions in several fields at the same time – which shows up, most clearly as territorial stigmatization and segregation (symbolically as well as materially). In the Danish case this can be observed empirically as the declining social and symbolic position of numerous social housing estates across the country where a significant amount of ethnic minorities, declassified workers have been concentrated over the last 30 years. This research with in this field theoretical approach so far suggests that the causes of the problems of the deprived urban areas are not to be found in the areas themselves but in the (last 30 years continuous reorganization of several core) welfare state institutions such as the housing market, the labour market, the educational market and the family etc. in other words to explain the causes of the problems in the deprived urban areas (as in opposition to (the dominant discourse/research tradition in Denmark at the moment) mealy describing the quantitative reach of the problem i.e. the number of; out of work residents, ethnic minorities, and crimes committed etc. in a given area) one must focus on the social mechanisms reproducing the social conditions and there by the social and spatial distances expressed in symbolic, social and physical space. This implies a multidimensional sociological “model” that facilitates the handling of all these “simultaneities” at the same time. Such a sociological model is what I’m trying to develop as part of my PhD at the moment. The inspiration of the model comes from three places first of all from the long Danish tradition of research in deprived urban areas (Christensen 1956, Kühl and Koch-Nielsen 1969 and 1971, Simonsen 1974, Plovsing 1975, Kristensen 1993, Skifter Andersen 1999 and 2003, Thor Andersen 2005). Secondly the inspiration comes from the massive collective work ‘The weight of the world’ which was headed by French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (Bourdieu 1999). Lastly the inspiration comes from French American sociologist Loïc Wacquants comparative sociology of advanced marginalization (Wacquant 2007). Put very short this sociological model takes departure in the deprived urban areas understood as fields of contending positions (between the positions of the residents as well as the contending positions between different urban areas) while at the same time relating the urban areas and the residents to their corresponding positions in physical space, social space and symbolic space (Bourdieu 1984:175ff, Bourdieu 1999:123ff)) while trying to account for the effects from the multiple overlapping fields of cultural production, the economic field, the labour market, the housing market, the educational field, the media and the family.
My candidatum in public administration (cand.scient.adm. eq of a Msc.) related to the structure and the dynamics of the matrimonial market in the wake of the spread of internet dating. That is the main research question was: “if it is true that love is blind and that you can be anyone on the internet – how come it is so rare that Sofie the barrister from Rungsted falls in love with Brian, the auto mechanic from Brøndby?” so the problems tackled in the thesis was how in practice the relations of class was working as selection mechanisms while remaining true to the perception that ‘love is blind’ and ‘it’s a matter of chemistry’ so as to insure that the ‘birds of a feather flock together’ i.e. that the class boundaries (and the social distances) are reproduced.

Selected Publications:

Schultz Larsen, T. (2012) “Vestegnen – velfærdsstatens tabte paradis – om de forsømte boligområders storhed og forfald” (Paradise lost – on the rise and dilapidation of the copenhagen west end) Marlene Freud Pedersen og Lasse Koefoed (red). Metropolis – Byen i bevægelse, Samfundslitteratur. København.

Schultz Larsen, T. (2011) “Med Wacquant i det ghettopolitiske felt” (With Wacquant in the field of ghetto politics) temanummer om nyere fransk bysociologi i Dansk Sociologi nr. 2 2011

Schultz Larsen, T. (2009) “De Forsømte – Skitse til en socialvidenskabelig analyse om relationerne mellem produktionen af forsømte boligområder, de sociale kampe om det boligsociale integrationsarbejde og den boligsociale integration” (The Dilapidated) Ph.d. afhandling indgivet til bedømmelse ved institut for samfund og globalisering, Roskilde Universitets.