The Construction of Objectivity

Primary investigator: Stina Bergman Blix, Department of Sociology, Uppsala University. 

Participating researchers: Åsa Wettergren, Gothenburg University, Moa Bladini from Gothenburg University and Nina Törnqvist at Uppsala University.

Funding: Swedish Research Council (VR).

Duration: 2017-2019.

Project description: The aim of this project is to study the emotive-cognitive applied process of judicial decision-making in Swedish prosecution offices and courts, by following legal cases from prosecution, district court, to the court of appeal. We study: 1) Emotive-cognitive construction of objective decision-making; 2) Dimensions of encoding subjective lay narratives in a legal case into objective judicial categories; 3) Emotive-cognitive components of changed decisions. Using qualitative methods we combine interviews and shadowing with concerned prosecutors and judges and observations of the trials. The project addresses problems with the positivist notion of objectivity which does not allow legal actors to reflect upon how they do use emotions at work, thereby obscuring when personal sensibilities interfere with professional decisions. Besides the potential for developing legal education this knowledge advances theory about emotions, rationality and objectivity.

Last modified: 2021-06-27