Árni Sverrisson. Foto: Privat
Árni Sverrisson. Foto: Privat

Tell us about your research!

My research has been at the interdisciplinary intersection between Science and Technology Studies and Visual Studies. As PhD candidate, I focused on the mechanisation of small and medium sized enterprises in Africa, a case of late industrialisation (Sida/SAREC). After earning my PhD, I worked with researchers from Denmark, Italy, Germany, Netherlands and UK on several publications, and coordinated a research network with global participation over many years. From this, I moved to comparative studies of environmental policy in Europe (EU) with participants from UK, Italy, Netherlands, Norway and Lithuania. I wrote of fisheries and fishery policy in Iceland and I did various work for the ILO, UN, SIDA, SPF and VINNOVA. 

Simultaneously, I developed a research program about a sociology of photography, then on the verge of digitalisation. This eventually became my main research interest and for many years, I coordinated the Nordic Network on Visual Studies (Nordforsk). I did a survey of professional photographers in Sweden (HSFR/VR). I led a large project on Audio-visual production and media networks in Dalarna (EU/HDa) where I was part-time professor of visual culture for eight years. I did a study of visual interfaces in games (VR) and participated in the making of a documentary film about Sami in early modernity, based on archived photographs (VR). During these years, I also served on VR application review panels on several occasions, and in a similar capacity in Norway and Denmark. 

Lately I have worked on a book “A Sociology of Vernacular Photography” (VR). The book includes three chapters on classic sociological writings on photography (Goffman, Becker and Bourdieu) and three chapters with systematic theoretical analysis of social networks, knowledge, and technology in photography, in dialogue with more recent developments. In addition, several case studies are included and a chapter on methods. A small selection of my publications is available on Research Gate.

Tell us about your teaching!

I have taught theory and methods courses at all levels, starting as a PhD candidate with elementary quantitative methods and ending on the master thesis course. I taught elective courses in economic sociology, social psychology and visual sociology for a while. I also supervised some clever and industrious PhD-students. I have also taught at several other places where I also supervised PhDs, helped develop master programmes, etc. related to my research interests. 

How does it feel to retire?

Feels like the time is right. I have no great plans, but I am curious. 

Will you continue to be active and do research even after retirement?

Yes, I will finalize the book, lots of work with pictures, examples, references and editing. This will keep me busy for a while.

What year did you come to the Department of Sociology? What did you do before that?

I came here in 1998, when I got a four-year full-time post-doc to pursue research of my own choosing. Before that, I was in Lund where I got my PhD in 1993, and worked at the Research Policy Institute and the Sociology Department.

How would you summarize your time at the Department of Sociology?

It´s been a bumpy ride sometimes but I leave without regrets.