Varför etiska kommittéer?

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


This thesis analyses the development of ethics committees from a sociology of law perspective and a social steerage perspective ("social control"). The main question is: Why are ethics committees established? Institutionalised ethics committee is a rather new phenomenon, which has become widely spread in the last 20 years. The study points out the public ethical debate since the 1980s as a major explanation for the growth of ethics committees. The thesis also discusses social factors that are in the background of the ethical debate. Here we can see changes in the Swedish ideological-economic policies at the same time as the ethical debates begin and when a lot of ethics committees are established. From the social steerage perspective the ethics committees can be described as specialised social control units, and these organisations create norms or normative expectations for a special field. The ethics committees emanate from a need for regulations in relation to criticism of a special branch or profession, and committees are established to manage, and in the future avoid, criticism, and to create social steerage in the area. The dissertation also focuses on the fact that ethics committees can be established to avoid legislation. If a profession establishes a social control unit, like an ethics committee, the profession has a better chance to avoid legislation; the field will already be regulated and there would be no need for legislation. Professions want to protect their right to self-determination. But the internal steerage could suffer from lack of legitimacy in society. The focus on ethics in social steerage is a tool for gaining public acceptance or legitimacy.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law and Society


  • professional ethics, reducing complexity, normative expectations, norms, legitimacy, morals, ethics, ethical steerage, social steerage, ethics committees, social control unit, civic morals, Stjernquist, Luhmann, Durkheim, Sociology, Sociologi
Translated title of the contributionWhy Ethics Committees?
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2004 Feb 7
Print ISBNs91-7267-156-4
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2004-02-07 Time: 10:15 Place: Carolinasalen, Kungshuset, Lund External reviewer(s) Name: Ziegert, Klaus A. Title: [unknown] Affiliation: [unknown] ---