Norms and legal rules. An investigation of the tunnel construction through the Hallandsås ridge.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


In 1992 Swedens biggest tunnelproject begun. Two 8.5 km tunnels should cross a big ridge in southern Sweden which was seen as an obstacle to a fast and efficient railway line connecting Oslo and Gothenburg with Malmö and Copenhagen. However, the project had to stop in 1997 due to environmental damages. With only a third of the tunnel accomplished, the project was also much delayed and had a heavy budget overdraft. This socio-legal dissertation departes from the ambition to answer the overall question how this environmental accident could happen and what role the law played. The law is considered to be a subcategory of norms, and therefore is this latter category used to understand the project and the law. Thus, the purpose of this dissertation is to understand and describe this project in terms of norms. A secondary purpose is to develop a method for this.

The theoretical point of departure is norms in general. A new perspective on norms is however applied in this study. This new perspective suggests that societal systems such as economy and politics can have normative effects and are therefore included in the concept of norms. Another assumption is that norms guide actions. A socio-legal perspective entail that the project is investigated from three perspectives: the course of events, the legal dimension and the normative dimension. After the course of events is described, the legal dimension is analysed in order to find the decisions and the rules that matters in the project. Then the normative dimension is reconstructed with a heuristic model. Finally, a ‘norm' that has guided the actions in the project is constructed. This ‘norm' is built up by four action-oriented systems: the socio-cultural system, the political-administrative system, the economical system and the natural system.

The dissertation comes to the result that we can talk about a normative structure that dominates the project and that the law is part of this structure. This is due to the strong consensus about the basic values which the project is deeply rooted in and to the fact that the law seems to express the normativity of other action-oriented systems, but less so the socio-cultural or the natural systems. Further, the study indicates that the political system seems to intervene in the process of evaluating what is technically possible. Finally, the overall normative perspective adopted here, is thus a way to understand how the law covariates with other normative systems and what the effects are of this. It has also been possible to describe this in figures, however in broad outlines.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law and Society


  • Sociology, Hallandsås, action-oriented system, normativity, tunnel construction, Sociologi
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2003 May 9
Print ISBNs91-7267-144-0
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2003-05-09 Time: 13:00 Place: Samarkand, AF, Lund University External reviewer(s) Name: Sand, Inger-Johanne Title: Professor Affiliation: Faculty of law, Oslo university ---