Groundbreaking sociology

Professor Knud Knudsen at the University of Stavanger (UiS) has been presented with the Norwegian Sociological Association’s achievement award for 40 years of groundbreaking research.

Still active, the 68-year-old has received the prize for his positive contribution to sociology since 1972 through work covering a number of topics.

These include inequalities in schools, views on immigration among Norwegians, the division of housework and the development of the grandfather’s role.

Knudsen has published nearly 50 contributions on education, living conditions, class and social stratification, as well as almost 20 on family relations and gender roles.

In addition come roughly 15 articles on methodology and techniques of statistical analysis. He has also researched attitudes on immigrants and immigration since the late 1980s.

Knudsen’s research was summarised by the award jury under three main headings, including social inequality related to education and living conditions.

Family sociology and attitude studies, particularly related to immigration, are the others. In all these areas, he has been concerned to compare over time, place and space.

The jury also emphasised that Knudsen is an outstanding teacher, who has succeeded in communicating difficult topics in a simple way. He is particularly celebrated for his course on research methodology.

The professor’s theoretical standpoint is clearly evident in his publications, which are characterised by theory-based, empirically oriented and socially relevant analysis.

His current activities include contributing to BSc studies in sociology at the UiS.

“Receiving this award is a great honour,” Knudsen comments. “So this has been very gratifying for me personally.

“It’s also a feather in the cap for the sociology team at the UiS and the International Research Institute of Stavanger (IRIS), which has also secured good evaluations from the Research Council of Norway.”

Knudsen began his academic career at the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration (NHH) in Bergen, where he took an MSc in business economics in 1968 with English and economic history as optional subjects.

He then transferred to the University of Bergen to study sociology, and had a 12-month honorary fellowship for study and research in the USA in 1973.

This was spent in the department of sociology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, then and now probably the world’s best research environment for educational sociology.

He joined a research project on social indicators in 1973 and led a project on educational inequalities in Norwegian schools from 1974 to 1977.

At the same time, he was appointed an assistant professor, and later became associate professor, in sociology at the University of Bergen.

He secured his doctorate in 1979 with a thesis on inequalities in primary and secondary schools, and became a full professor of sociology in 1981.

Three years later, in April 1984, Knudsen moved with his family to Stavanger to become a professor at the University College of Stavanger, now the UiS.

The achievement award is presented annually by the Norwegian Sociological Association to a person who has made an impact on Norwegian sociology, or a Norwegian sociologists who has made a mark internationally.

Earlier recipients include such well-known personalities as Gudmund Hernes, Arne Næss, Nils Christie, Natalie Rogoff Ramsøy, Hans Skjervheim and Kari Wærness.

Portrait photo of Knud Knudsen

Professor Knud Knudsen has won great acclaim for his decades of research.