Center for cultural sociology

The center for cultural sociology (CCS) strives to make living conditions of children and youth visible and understandable by relating individual and shared emotions to societal processes – something that is put into practice in a number of concrete research projects.

The cultural sociology foundation on which the center for cultural sociology rests is an understanding of culture defined by the American anthropologist Clifford Geertz. Cultural analysis, according to Geertz, "boils down to one question: How to frame an analysis of meaning". That involves an analysis of how the meaning structures that people use to understand and handle their own experiences and actions can be understood.

Our research

CCS works with cultural theory and social theory as a basis for understanding meaning structures. The cultural concept within CCS deals with the meaning structures through which children as well as youth and adults in different roles understand and ascribe meaning to their own actions, conditions of life and ways of understanding themselves as well as others.

We work to shed light on the conditions that are part of the lives of children and youth. This can be achieved by relating the individual and shared emotions and experiences of young people to wider societal processes. That way, living conditions of children and youth can be made understandable to all of us. Two key analytical themes are:

Extended adolescence and youth culture(s)

A theme dealing with children's – "tweens'" or child teenagers' – and teens' and young adults' structural conditions, practical experiences and forms of self-understanding.

Notions of childhood

A theme focusing on how childhood is represented by different actors and institutions, for instance how the line of thought on "being" and "becoming" is manifested in teachers, parents, sports leaders, etc.

Towards a different everyday life – research project

Individuals' creation of meaning in connection to retirement from a social inequality perspective is a research project ranging from 2014 to 2016, funded by the Kamprad Family foundation. Participating researchers are Anna Lund (project manager), Mattias Bengtsson and Marita Flisbäck. Bengtsson and Flisbäck are active at Gothenburg University but also have ties to the center for cultural sociology at Linnaeus University.

Project focus

The formal retirement age signals societal norms on when it is considered suitable to retire from working life. However, these norms do not necessarily correspond to individual needs and values. Some want to and are able to work until they are 67, some even longer than that. Others may have to stop working much earlier than that, due to being worn out or ill. When a person retires from working life varies between the genders, and between people from different socioeconomic positions.

However, regardless of when an individual enters retirement, it is an important dividing line in people's lives. A new everyday life begins and new routines have to be established. This can lead to the establishment of new identities, social affiliations and contexts of meaning – a questioning of the self in larger contexts. Knowledge about how individuals handle retirement from working life based on identity and resources connected to class, gender and ethnicity is essential since the results can lead to improved conditions, better health and increased well-being among elderly people.

Therefore, this project investigates the transitional phase of retirement, through questions about what it means for elderly people – on an existential level as well as on an identity level – to not be part of working life, which is then analysed from a social inequality perspective. The aim is to develop an understanding of how individuals create meaning at retirement and to explain how this is connected to identities and financial and cultural resources tied to class, gender and ethnicity.


The center for cultural sociology collaborates with the surrounding society and has broad research contacts. Here we present some of our collaboration partners and collaboration projects.

Related research centers

The center for cultural sociology strives to be a national and international meeting point for students, doctoral students and researchers interested in research with cultural sociology perspectives. We have vivid knowledge exchange with Yale University Center of Cultural Sociology

The center for cultural sociology also collaborates with a number of other actors in Sweden as well as in the US, Great Britain and New Zeeland.

Collaborations with other actors

Regional Council of Kalmar County
The project deals with Swedish youth politics and regional development of youth’s living conditions and participation in the municipalities where they live. Of particular significance is the issue of regional development in relation to geographic mobility: to move out and to stay put. This collaboration is a follow-up of an earlier collaboration with the regional council, which was presented in the report “Unga under Lupp”.

Centrum för idrottsforskning
Center for sports science in Stockholm has published the report “Ett idrottspolitiskt dilemma: Unga, föreningsidrotten och delaktigheten”. The report is part of a larger project dealing with young people, sports associations and participation.

Växjö municipality
During 2011 and 2012, the center had a collaboration project with Växjö municipality. The aim was to make qualitative and quantitative studies of what the inhabitants of the municipality think of the municipality’s culture and leisure time activities.

Swedish Agency for Cultural Policy Analysis
On commission from the Swedish Agency for Cultural Policy Analysis, the center for cultural sociology has worked to make an assessment of Skapande skola during 2012 and 2013.

The Church of Sweden and Sigtunastiftelsen
The center for cultural sociology is involved in a research project about “Religion as a resource”.

International guests

A couple of times each year, the center for cultural sociology is visited by international guests. Below you can see some of the researchers who have visited us during the last few years.

Amy Schalet, October 2012
Associate professor of sociology at university of Massachusetts Amherst.

Lisa McCormick, 2011 and 2012
Research assistant in sociology at Haverford University

Isaac Reed, November 2011
Lecturer in sociology at Center for Cultural Sociology, Yale University, and now active at University of Colorado-Boulder.

Charlotte Bloch, November 2011
Researcher and teacher at Copenhagen University

Caroline Knowles, April 2011
Professor of sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London

Helen Wood, September 2010
Researcher and teacher in media and communication science at De Montfort University, Leicester, England

Alison Gerber, 2010
Doctoral student at Center for Cultural Sociology, Yale University