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Anna Lundberg is the new Head of Department

Professor Anna Lundberg

When 2023 became 2024, Anna Lundberg took over as Head of The Sociology of Law Department. Here she talks about her first months in the position and future challenges.

Former Head of Department Isabel Schoultz leads a time-sensitive research project examining strategies between prosecutors, lawyers, and counsels for the injured party in the trial against Orrön (formerly Lundin Energy, among others). Therefore, she chose not to stand for re-election as Head of Department.

Instead, the department chose Anna Lundberg, Associate Professor of Human Rights and Professor of Sociology of Law. She came to the Sociology of Law Department in 2022 from Linköping University and a professorship in welfare law.

How has it been being Head of Department?

The year began with the news that one of our dear colleagues passed away during the Christmas holidays. It was very sad and overwhelming.

In addition to this sadness, it feels like I'm coming to a set table. There is a good atmosphere and great commitment among colleagues in the department. There are developed routines to follow. There is also good cooperation with the heads of the other departments at the faculty and with HR.

I usually think that if I do what the previous Head of Department did, it will be fine.

What made you accept the nomination?

I think it's a good principle in academia that academic leaders and senior lecturers are also managers. So, I felt that it was my turn to do this now. It also feels exciting to try something new.

What do you want to achieve as Head of Department?

I hope we become even better at being the Sociologist of Law, namely conducting education and high-quality research with international impact and social relevance.

I want to continue the strategic work we do with internationalisation and become even better at attracting external funding.

And I want us to highlight the importance of socio-legal knowledge in society. The Sociology of Law Department at Lund University is a unique place for sociology of law as an interdisciplinary subject. We will maintain that.

What other challenges do you see ahead?

There is a discussion about merging departments. We do not view this favourably in light of our unique position and good international reputation. But we will be merged and do that in the best way we can.

Then, there are challenges that all of academia faces, not least the social sciences. We have reached a critical limit for teaching time. In society, we see signs of attempts to restrict freedom of expression. We see how society as a whole is moving in an authoritarian direction. Much of this development is taking place with the law as a tool for more authoritarian politics.

As social scientists, we risk being accused of being too political when we convey socio-legal knowledge relevant to society. This is not a new challenge, but it may become critical in the coming years, at the same time as socio-legal competence is becoming increasingly important.

How does being Head of Department affect your research?

There is a little less time for research than I had intended. This is partly because I am supervising several doctoral students at Linköping University. I hope to be able to combine research with being the Head of the Department.

Then, I will not have as much teaching, which I will miss. Contact with students is one of the most fun and important things we do as university teachers.