Alexander Ruser

Alexander Ruser
Universitetet i Agder | UIA · Department of Sociology and Social Work

Professor

About

91
Publications
13,364
Reads
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248
Citations
Introduction
Primary research interest is the interplay between scientific knowledge, expertise and decision making. Research projects focus on climate politics and climate skepticism. Main research questions - How is scientific knowledge used | abused to frame and shape decision making processes (what is seen as 'appropriate' and 'legitimate')? - (How) Is 'science' itself affected by the growing importance of 'knowledge based decision making'?
Additional affiliations
October 2018 - March 2020
Universitetet i Agder
Position
  • Professor
October 2017 - September 2018
Zeppelin University
Position
  • Head of Department
Description
  • The Center for Political Communication is dedicated to exploring political and strategic communication processes from an interdisciplinary perspective.
June 2017 - December 2017
Zeppelin University
Position
  • Senior Researcher
Education
October 2006 - July 2010
Universität Heidelberg
Field of study
  • Comparative Sociology, Political Sociology
October 1999 - May 2004
Universität Heidelberg
Field of study
  • Sociology, Philosophy & History of South Asia

Publications

Publications (91)
Article
Using a network approach, this article aims to illustrate the central role played by a new think tank in the late rise of the climate-skeptic political network in Germany since the 2010s. As the results of the analysis demonstrate, the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) has successfully connected different German actors, from the neol...
Chapter
Full-text available
Was genau ist ein Reallabor? Wie funktioniert Service Learning? Wozu dienen Praktikum, Citizen Science und Duales Studium? Dieses Handbuch erläutert zentrale Begriffe der jüngeren wissenschaftstheoretischen Debatte in ihren Auswirkungen auf Hochschullehre und Bildungsperspektiven. Transdisziplinarität erschließt sich auf diese Weise als umfassendes...
Article
Full-text available
Co-producing scientific research with those who are affected by it is an emerging phenomenon in contemporary science. This article summarizes and reflects on both the process and outcome of a novel experiment to co-develop scientific research proposals in the field of Open Innovation in Science (OIS), wherein scholars engaged in the study of open a...
Article
More than four decades ago postmodern thinkers began to challenge scientific authority and the alleged cementing of existing power structures by scientific knowledge. Today a new type of ‘science warriors’ use similar tactics to undermine scientific research that threatens the status quo. This contribution argues that in order to understand the his...
Article
Full-text available
Scholars across disciplines increasingly hear calls for more open and collaborative approaches to scientific research. The concept of Open Innovation in Science (OIS) provides a framework that integrates dispersed research efforts aiming to understand the antecedents, contingencies, and consequences of applying open and collaborative research pract...
Chapter
Was genau ist ein Reallabor? Wie funktioniert Service Learning? Wozu dienen Praktikum, Citizen Science und Duales Studium? Dieses Handbuch erläutert zentrale Begriffe der jüngeren wissenschaftstheoretischen Debatte in ihren Auswirkungen auf Hochschullehre und Bildungsperspektiven. Transdisziplinarität erschließt sich auf diese Weise als umfassendes...
Chapter
„Experten im (…) üblichen Verständnis – als Bezeichnung eines ‚Sachverständigen‘ (ursprünglich im 19. Jahrhundert: vor Gericht) – weisen sich als Experten aus insbesondere über Zertifikate, die ihnen Kompetenzen (Kenntnisse und Fähigkeiten) bescheinigen, welche sie sich über eine relativ voraussetzungsvolle, lang dauernde und inhaltlich umfangreich...
Article
Zusammenfassung Seit dem ersten „skolestreik for klimaet“ im Jahr 2018 hat sich die Fridays for Future-Bewegung zu einem globalen, medial beachteten Phänomen entwickelt. Gleichzeitig finden spektakuläre Aktionen wie die Besetzung des Hambacher Forsts durch Umweltaktivist*innen eine breite Öffentlichkeit. Die mediale und politische Aufmerksamkeit, w...
Article
Europe's far-right parties such as Alternative für Deutschland, the Lega and the Swedish Democrats have all struggled to find a message amid the pandemic. However, things might be changing. As populations tire of lockdowns and fear for their livelihoods, these parties are attempting to harness discontent and speak for "the people". While some hope...
Article
Philosophers of Science have developed sophisticated models for explaining how scientific revolutions are brought about and more generally how scientists deal with facts that contradict pre-existing assumptions and theoretical concepts. Likewise historians of science and sociologists of knowledge have produced comprehensive studies on how scientifi...
Article
Full-text available
Openness and collaboration in scientific research are attracting increasing attention from scholars and practitioners alike. However, a common understanding of these phenomena is hindered by disciplinary boundaries and disconnected research streams. We link dispersed knowledge on Open Innovation, Open Science, and related concepts such as Responsib...
Article
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Radio and television broadcasters accuse climate scientists of “promoting a global warming hoax”, recommending that they be “named and fi red, drawn and quartered” (Rush Limbaugh); commit “hara kiri” (Glenn Beck); and be “publicly fl ogged” (Mark Morano). Conservative media are crucial in promoting climate skepticism. Likewise, climate skepticism r...
Article
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“If you’re looking for trouble, you came to the right place.” — Elvis Presley Trouble Like Elvis, Mark Erickson is looking for trouble. Referring to Donna Haraway, Erickso argues that our vocation demands us to “stay with the trouble” And while I wholeheartedly agree with him that social scientists should seek and stay with the trouble, I am not su...
Article
Max Weber´s sober inventory of academic life and his prophetic vision of its 'Americanization' highlight the impact of societies on scientific knowledge production and academic careers. Likewise, Weber was concerned with the impact of science on societies. Being aware of the growing epistemic authority of science Weber warned of its potential abuse...
Article
Philosophers of Science have developed sophisti-cated models for explaining how scientific revolu-tions are brought about and more generally how scientists deal with facts that contradict pre-existing assumptions and theoretical concepts. Likewise historians of science and sociologists of knowledge have produced comprehensive studies on how scienti...
Conference Paper
Philosophy of Science has developed sophisticated models for explaining how scientific revo-lutions are brought about and more generally how scientists deal with facts that contradict pre-existing assumptions and theoretical concepts. Likewise historians of science and sociologists of knowledge have produced comprehensive studies on how scientific...
Article
Socioeconomic inequality is associated with differentiated levels of health and poor health affects political participation; inequalities are embodied in political life. This contribution, focusing on South Africa, attends to the impact of exposure to environmental hazards and stigmatisation of unhealthy bodies on political participation. The corpo...
Article
With the issue of climate now on the political centre stage, parties across the spectrum can no longer afford to ignore it and must position themselves, the far right included. Looking to Germany, Austria and Italy, researchers Amanda Machin and Alexander Ruser bust the myth that far-right parties across Europe share a stance of climate denialism a...
Article
Full-text available
Today, science and politics are in a complex status of reciprocal dependency. Politics is dependent on scientific expertise in order to adequately address highly complex social problems, and science is fundamentally dependent on public funding and on political regulation. Taken together, the diverse interactions, interrelations and interdependencie...
Chapter
Scientific data is frequently presented in climate policy in the form of targets, thresholds and other “emblematic numbers”. Emblematic numbers provide putatively accurate, easily graspable units of comparison. Their use, however, belies the complexity of climate change and scientific data and threatens to mask the political decisions that operate...
Article
Full-text available
Expert advice is gaining importance in advanced-knowledge societies. The demand for scientific knowledge increases as political decision-makers look for answers to cope with the ever more complex challenges of a globalised world. At the same time, scientific evidence has become a strategic resource capable of justifying world-views and political po...
Book
This book provides an innovative theoretical and analytical framework for studying the role and impact of specialized research organizations and consultancies on decision making in climate politics. It includes advanced empirical analysis of the case of Germany, compared with the situation in the USA. The book improves the understanding of the role...
Chapter
Most readers find sociological terminology opaque, dry and hard to understand.
Chapter
This chapter maps the think tank landscape in Germany highlighting structural and historical particularities that help explain why academic research institutions and party foundations dominate while German think tanks in general stay more in the background. The chapter explains the paramount significance of “membership” in public research networks...
Chapter
This chapter discusses the complex relation of climate, knowledge, and politics. Climate change, if taken seriously, demands robust policymaking. This raises the important question of how exactly science can inform decision-making and how to safeguard science from being “politicized” and whether, indeed, this is actually possible. The chapter descr...
Chapter
It is tempting to portray think tanks as a “fifth column” of powerful corporate interests, reflecting the preferences of political and economic “power elites” (Mills 1956). For Naomi Klein, for instance, think tanks are important adversaries of the political left: ‘We did not lose the battles of ideas. We were not outsmarted and we were not out-arg...
Chapter
This chapter systematically compares the two cases, analysing the way in which think tanks “fit in” their respective institutional and political environment and how they shape public debate and political decision-making on climate politics. The chapter shows that the respective knowledge regime influences opportunities for think tanks to accumulate...
Chapter
This chapter outlines the conceptual framework for analysing think tanks, assessing the effectiveness of their respective strategies, and estimating their impact on the national climate politics in the United States and Germany. It argues that differences in the respective political systems have to be taken into account in order to explain the diff...
Chapter
This chapter focuses on think tanks in the United States. The chapter provides an historical overview of the evolution of think tank in the United States with a special focus on how think tanks became instrumental in serving special political interests, including climate politics. Conservative think tanks will be portrayed as key members of counter...
Article
Social communities refer to and are constituted by tradition. Traditions create cultural identi-ties and confer cultural signi cance to social contexts. Traditions constitute social groups and are crucial for drawing the boundaries between ‘us’ and ‘them’. From a social-constructivists perspective traditions are the most interesting because they cr...
Chapter
In the 1998 Jerry Bruckheimer blockbuster movie Armageddon humanity is faced with the most serious threat: an asteroid the size of Texas is on a collision course with the earth. The effects of such a collision would be nothing short of disastrous: the end of the world as we know it. In this situation people do the obvious: they turn to a hero (natu...
Chapter
Die Finanz- und vor allem die Eurokrise der letzten Jahre stellen weit mehr als einen wirtschaftlichen Ausnahmezustand dar. Zwar haben der Zusammenbruch bedeutender Banken und die daraus resultierende Bedrohung des weltweiten Finanzsystems auf spektakuläre (oder besser: schockierende) Art und Weise die Fragilität des globalen Wirtschaftssystems (Ga...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Beitrag zur Ad-hoc-Gruppe »Einblicke in die Beratungsgesellschaft. Legitimation, Organisation und Felder der Beratung in Wirtschaft, Wissenschaft und Politik« " Examining the record of past research from the vantage of contemporary historio-graphy, the historian of science may be tempted to exclaim that when paradigms change, the world itself chang...
Article
In this paper, we are addressing three issues that are at the core of scholarly reflections about the societal role of social science knowledge: (1) Social scientists tend to follow – although this is not always a deliberate choice – one of three models that describe their role as the producers of practical knowledge. For the sake of simplicity we...
Article
Full-text available
http://www.publicseminar.org/2017/06/the-climate-of-post-truth-populism/#.WUvLO_p96OE
Book
Political compromise is emerging as a preferred solution for numerous apparently intractable problems. Many have pointed to the rising degree of political polarisation around issues such as climate change, immigration and abortion. These are ‘wicked problems’ that are clearly not conducive to any sort of political consensus. The groups and individu...
Chapter
Die weltweite Finanz- und die sich daraus entwickelnde „Eurokrise“ haben auch heute massive Auswirkungen auf die Mitgliedsstaaten der Europäischen Union. Trotz hastiger und weitreichender Reformen zur Errichtung eines neuen Systems der economic governance befindet sich Europa wirtschaftspolitisch in der Krise. Aber wie konnte aus einem wirtschaftli...
Chapter
Full-text available
Knowledge has become the vital economic resource, especially as the basis of economic growth; but knowledge also is force in other social institutions of modern society, including of course, in governance or the world of work. It also is the case that certified scientific and technical knowledge claims have become the source of many of the social,...
Article
Anthropogenic climate change is a scientific fact. For decades the international community of climate scientists have compiled data, applied the most sophisticated models and methods. Among climate scientists the existence of human made climate change is consensual. Yet, scientific knowledge and expertise have been unsuccessful in convincing 'clima...
Article
At first glance the Idea of the “Unity of Science” seems to be of interest for historians of science only. However, given the expectations especially social scientists face today, to provide simple answers and feasible solutions to pressing social problems a revival of the idea is not unlikely. In particular “reductionist” ideas, aiming to adopt th...
Conference Paper
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e Paris Agreement of 2015 recognizes 'that climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet and thus requires the widest possible cooperation by all countries, and their participation in an eective and appropriate international response'. A common reaction to such a statement has been to call...
Research
Full-text available
Da wäre auch ein Mythos, der dringend mal entzaubert werden müsste: Das Märchen vom „Buch der Deutschen“, welches der Nazi-Ideologie zum Sieg verholfen hat. Hitler wurde nicht Reichskanzler, weil die Menschen sein Buch gelesen haben. Richtig ist, dass das Buch ein Erfolg wurde, weil sein Verfasser die bekannte politische Karriere gemacht hat.
Research
Full-text available
Da wäre auch ein Mythos, der dringend mal entzaubert werden müsste: Das Märchen vom „Buch der Deutschen“, welches der Nazi-Ideologie zum Sieg verholfen hat. Hitler wurde nicht Reichskanzler, weil die Menschen sein Buch gelesen haben. Richtig ist, dass das Buch ein Erfolg wurde, weil sein Verfasser die bekannte politische Karriere gemacht hat.
Article
Full-text available
The role of scientific knowledge in general and social science knowledge in particular is changing in emerging and advanced knowledge societies. Science is becoming more important in identifying and framing social challenges and providing ‘suitable and feasible’ solution to decision-makers. Yet, scientific authority is increasingly challenged and c...
Article
Full-text available
The global financial crisis of 2007 turned into a sovereign debt crisis that placed the economies within the EU in jeop- ardy. Despite hastily decided rescue packages, bailouts and far-reaching reforms of economic governance in the EU the situation still looks grim in some Southern member states. In the course of these rescue attempts technocratic...
Article
Full-text available
Als Reaktion auf einen "Nachruf" auf die PEGIDA-Bewegun erhält der Autor seitdem Briefe "aus der Schattenwelt", in denen ein gewisser M. Mustermann Stellung für die Ideen der Bewegung bezieht. Grund genug für einen Nachruf zum Nachruf — eine Geschichte aus der Gruft.
Article
Full-text available
This article questions why sociology still lacks elaborate methods of scientific forecasting. Following a critical discussion of two main obstacles for sociological futures research – complexity and interaction – the deductive scenario development approach is introduced. Since scenario planning stresses plausibility not probability, it enables soci...
Book
Die Bilder von überladenen Flüchtlingsbooten und überfüllten Auffanglagern haben in den letzten Jahren die öffentliche Aufmerksamkeit verstärkt auf die Flüchtlingspolitik gelenkt. Seit die Binnengrenzen in der EU gefallen sind, kontrollieren die Mitgliedstaaten die Außengrenzen gemeinsam. Flüchtlinge und Asylsuchende sind deshalb nicht mehr nur ein...
Article
What role will the EU play on the global stage? The struggle of some of its members in the current economic crisis, its apparent inability to punch its political weight in international negotiations (e.g. the climate summit in Warsaw in 2013) or play a dominant part in international crisis management (the Arab Spring, Syria) cast doubt on the capab...
Conference Paper
‘Global environmental inequalities’ are often used synonymously for the asymmetric tragedy of the commons problem posed by anthropogenic climate change: polluters (mostly countries in the developed world) are less affected and more capable to deal with the consequences of global climate change than the less industrialised countries in the global so...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Climatologists agree on that anthropogenic climate change is among the most pressing political challenges. Despite scientific consent international climate politics are effectively gridlocked since the Copenhagen Summit. Against the background of the growing significance of scientific expertise, especially in highly complex fields like climate poli...
Article
Full-text available
The European Union has often been portrayed as a ‘normative power’ on the international stage, in the sense that it exerts influence using ‘softer’ mechanisms such as leading by example. I write that this conception of EU power has increasingly come under strain due to deadlock over global climate change negotiations – an issue which has been centr...
Chapter
Although environmentalism and environmental politics are deeply rooted in today’s Japan and South Korea, the need for consulting and scientific expertise remains urgent. Against the background of domestic challenges and a developing international environmental regime both countries are facing the task of maintaining advisory channels. In recent yea...
Method
Full-text available
Methodensammlung zur Planung und Durchführung von Seminaren in der schulischen und außerschulischen Bildung zur Eurokrise, dem Verhältnis von Politik und Wirtschaft so wie zur Zukunft der Europäischen Union
Article
In the context of the current crisis, many researchers as well as practitioners claim that the European integration process has to be complemented by a strong social dimension or what is sometimes called ‘horizontal Europeanization’. This article looks at town twinning in Europe, a specific instrument for fostering social exchange and partnerships...
Chapter
Greenhouse gases have been defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as “those gaseous constituents of the atmosphere, both natural and anthropogenic, that absorb and emit radiation at specific wavelengths within the spectrum of infrared radiation emitted by Earth's surface, the atmosphere and clouds” (IPCC, 2007, p. 816). By...
Article
Full-text available
Die Frage nach der Zukunft politischer Beteiligung in Europa ist seit geraumer Zeit Gegenstand öffentlicher Debatten und wissenschaftlicher Untersuchungen. Während einerseits Politik- und Politikerverdrossenheit insbesondere junger Menschen festgestellt werden (Noack 2011), gehen an- dererseits die sogenannten »Wutbürger« auf die Straße. Ins- beson...
Chapter
Großbritannien verfügt über ein hoch komplexes Alterssicherungssystem, das sich auf den ersten Blick gegen die Einordnung in das drei Säulen-Modell zu sperren scheint. Für diesen Umstand zeichnen insbesondere tiefgreifende Reformbemühungen, sowohl von konservativer (in den 1980er Jahren) als auch sozialdemokratischer (seit Mitte der 1990er Jahre) S...
Chapter
Auch wenn die hier vorgestellten Ergebnisse den Einbezug der diskursanalytischen Dimension rechtfertigen, stellen sie in vielerlei Hinsicht lediglich Wasserstandsmeldungen eines „Work in Progress“ dar.
Chapter
Nachdem in den vorangegangenen Kapiteln die Reformdiskurse und –prozesse für die jeweiligen Länder getrennt untersucht wurden, sollen in den nun folgenden Abschnitten der Studie zunächst die für den Einzelfall gewonnenen Ergebnisse aufeinander bezogen werden. Die Einnahme einer international vergleichenden Perspektive ermöglicht es, Gemeinsamkeiten...
Chapter
In der aktuellen Diskussion scheint lediglich sicher zu sein, dass alte Sicherheiten angesichts der demographischen Entwicklung, einer sich globalisierenden Wirtschaft und den damit verbundenen Veränderungen der Arbeitswelt, so wie dem sozialstrukturellen Wandel zunehmend in Frage zu stellen sind: Eins ist sicher: Die Renten sind es nicht mehr.
Chapter
Im Folgenden wird das bislang nur skizzierte analytische Vorgehen detailliert entwickelt. Zunächst werden die grundlegenden Entscheidungen des Forschungsdesigns thematisiert, bevor anschließend die Kriterien der Fallauswahl expliziert werden. Zuletzt wird der Rahmen der zweigleisigen Untersuchungsmethode vorgestellt, wobei eine detaillierte Auseina...
Chapter
Das System der Alterssicherung der Bundesrepublik wird von der staatlichen gesetzlichen Rentenversicherung (GRV) geprägt, die etwa 82% der Erwerbstätigen erfasst (DRV 2003, 59). Die Grundprinzipien der gesetzlichen Rentenversicherung sind neben der Versicherungspflicht insbesondere die gleichzeitige Kopplung von Beitrags-und Leistungshöhe an die Lö...
Book
Full-text available
Für Börsenspekulationen ist der Februar einer der gefährlichsten Monate. Die anderen sind Juli, Januar, September, April, November, Mai, März, Juni, Dezember, August, und Oktober. (Marc Twain) Kaum ein Thema beherrschte die Medien in den letzten Jahren so stark wie die globale Finanzkrise. Nach- richten über bankrotte Banken, eiligst aufgespannte...
Chapter
This article examines the influence of think tanks on South Korean political discourse pertaining to East Asia. The growing importance of regionalisation in Northeast Asia is related to intra-regional economic developments, the emergence of transnational political institutions and cultural interdependencies. In recent years, think tank publications...
Article
Das Rollenspiel „Streik! Arbeitskampf in der ABC AG“ simuliert Tarifverhandlungen in einem fiktiven deutschen/ internationalen Großkonzern. Am Beispiel der industriellen Beziehungen können somit Merkmale und Funktion des deutschen Tarifsystems, aber auch Mechanismen des Interessenausgleichs („collective bargainings“) insgesamt transparent gemacht u...
Chapter
Full-text available
Who is playing Fantasy Role Playing games? And, more important, what does it mean to play complex yet highly abstract games? The Article summarizes a survey conducted to get demographic data on fantasy players and lays out a sociological analysis of 'shared fantasies'.
Article
Vor dem Hintergrund weit verbreiteter demographischer und ökonomischer Probleme nationale Rentensysteme verfolgt die Arbeit das Ziel Refromprozesse imjeweiligen Länderkontext zu betrachten. Vor dem hintergrund einer international vergleichenden Perspektive werden die Reformprozesse in drei ausgewählten Untersuchungsländern rekonstruiert und im Hinb...

Network

Cited By

Projects

Projects (8)
Project
The global sustainability challenge is a key concern for policy makers and researchers. At the same time research shows that digital technologies could have negative, as well as positive, impacts on sustainability. Digitalization drives global energy consumption to new heights. Digital communication is instrumental in spreading climate skepticsism and other narratives that oppose transitions towards more sustainable futures. The special issue seeks contribute to an improved theoretical understanding of the relationship between digitalization and sustainability. We invite both conceptual and empirical papers that may provide new insights in the form of frameworks, theory development and practical examples of the mentioned relationship You find the CfP here: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainability/special_issues/digitalization_sus
Project
Expert Panel & scenario development process under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Digitalization and Economic Affairs. Focus on future challenges, opportunities and risks for education in Austria.
Archived project
While political and economic Europeanization has received much scholarly attention, we know much less about social integration in Europe. This project aimed to study the mechanisms that were intended to move closer to a shared European social space. Beyond tracing their development over time, a core question was whether such mechanisms reflect or rather alleviate increasing levels of social inequality in Europe.