Sociologisering, disciplinering, amerikanisering

Thorsten Sellin och svensk kriminologi


  • Anders Pedersson Göteborgs universitet


History, history of criminology, history of sociology, history of social science, Thorsten Sellin


The main aim of the article is to investigate the relation between a national and an international sphere from the perspective of the history of social science, with special focus on the history of criminology. To achieve that aim this article narrows in on the visit to Sweden by one specific individual important to Swedish criminology. World renowned American sociologist and criminologist, Thorsten Sellin, spent the academic year of 1946/47 in Sweden, invited and financed by the Swedish government. I analyze his activities in Sweden and by examining how an authority in interna- tional criminology presented himself and his science to a Swedish audience I am given the opportunity to raise questions concerning what internationalization can entail. I analyze this process of internationalization of Swedish criminology, which Sellin’s visit to Sweden represent, through three concrete manifestations, which I have chosen to call sociologiszation, disciplinization and Americanization. It’s shown in the article how Sellin brought new dimensions into Swedish criminology while at the same time his ability to do so was dependent on the characteristics of the Swedish context. Sociologiszation, disciplinization and Americanization of Swedish criminology was processes already set in motion when Sellin arrived, but I argue that Sellin’s activities on Swedish soil accelerated those processes. I conclude therefore that internationalization always also has to be understood as re-nationalization.