Tom R. Burns

Professor emer. i sociologi 82 vid Sociologiska institutionen; Emeriti

Engelska parken
Thunbergsvägen 3H
Box 624
751 26 UPPSALA


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Tom R. Burns is Professor Emeritus at the Department of Sociology, University of Uppsala, Uppsala, Sweden. He is a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University since 2004, Visiting Professor at the Lisbon University Institute, Portugal (since 2007), and a founding member of the Millennium Assessment of Human Behavior for Sustainability (MAHB) ( He has served as a Member of the EU Commission’s Advisory Group on the Social Sciences and Humanities (2002-2005). Among his past academic engagements, he has been a Jean Monnet Visiting Professor at the European University, Florence, Italy (2002); Visiting Fellow, Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZIF), Bielefeld, Germany (2002); Visiting Professor at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (1985), Clarence J. Robinson University Professor at George Mason University (1987–1990), Fellow at Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences (Spring, 1992; Autumn, 1998), among others. Burns has published more than 15 books and 140 articles in the areas of the sociology of environment and technology, governance and politics, the analysis of markets and market regulation, and studies of administration and management. He has also published extensively on social theory and methodology, with an emphasis on neo-institutionalism, the sociology theory of games and interaction, socio-cultural evolutionary theory, and dynamic systems theory ("actor-system dialectics" (ASD)). . Among his books are: The Shaping of Social Organization: Social Rule System Theory with Applications (1987) (with Helena Flam), Man, Decisions, Society (1985) (with Tom Baumgartner & Philippe DeVille), The Shaping of Socio-economic Systems (1986) (with Tom Baumgartner & Philippe DeVille), (ed) Power, Culture and Control over Immigrants’ Life chances: Multidimensional Perspectives on Structural Discrimination in Sweden (2007) (in Swedish) (with Nora Machado, Zenia Hellgren, & Goran Brodin); Municipal Entrepreneurship and Energy Policy: A Five Nation Study of Politics, Innovation, and Social Change (1994) (with Alison Woodward & Jerry Ellig), (ed.) Transitions to Alternative Energy Systems: Entrepreneurs, New Technologies, and Social Change (1984)(with Tom Baumgartner), Societal Decision-making: Democratic Challenges to State Technocracy (1992) (with Svein Andersen), Creative Democracy (1988) (with Reinhard Ueberhorst), Structuration: Economic and Social Transformation (2000) (in Chinese, 2nd edition appeared in 2010) (with Ewa Roszkowska & Nina Witoszek); Paradigms in Public Policy: Theory and Practice of Paradigm Shifts in the EU (2009) (with Marcus Carson & Dolores Calvo); The Meta-power Paradigm: Structuring Social Systems, Institutional Powers, and Global Contexts (2011, Peter Lang Publishers (Berlin, Frankfurt, Oxford, New York)(with Peter Hall); (ed.) Governance in Natural and Social Life: A Social Science Handbook of Theories and Practices of Societal and Global Regulation (2012, in preparation) (with Ilan Kelman, Nora Machado, & Christian Stohr).

A Brief Outline of my Academic Profile


The Theory of Meta-power and relational control A multi-causal theory of power

Social Rule System Theory: Rule and rule complexes, their formation and transformation - Rule systems as the basis of social organization, institutions, and culture - The sociology of technology and socio-technical systems

The Theory of Public policy paradigms; their architecture and transformation - Societal paradigms

The theory of actor-system dialectics (ASD): social systems analysis, natural and social systems inter-linkage, system stability and dynamics - Socio-cultural evolution and development - Organic democracy, post-parliamentary democracy -

Sociological game theory (SGT): context, complex agency, roles, institutions - Value complexes - Multi-modality judgment and decision-making - Normative equilibria of games, roles, and institutions - Fuzzy judgment, games, and equilibria - Multi-game systems and hierarchies of games

MAJOR EMPIRICAL STUDIES AND PROGRAMS (as Principal Investigator(PI) or co-PI)

"Energy and Society Program," University of Oslo, 1979-1984. Research on energy institutions and policies in Norway; the politics and conflicts around hydro power, nuclear, petroleum, and energy conservation developments. Power and resource mobilization as well as social movements and struggles between civil society organizations and state and private interests. Numerous books, articles in international journals, and reports produced. -

"Innovative Organizational Forms for User Influence in International Health Care Systems", 1979-1981. Reports in English and Swedish -

"Technological Innovations in Alternative Energy Systems", 1978-82. Studies of solar (California, Israel), wind (Denmark), heat pumps (Germany), geothermal electricity (California), wood (New England), peat (Finland). Articles and a book. -

"Energy Politics, Innovation and Institutional Change in Municipalities: Case Studies in Five Countries", 1980-86 (Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden, and the USA). Numerous reports, WZB publications, and a book. -

"Inflation, Unemployment and Socio economic Instability: A Comparative Investigation of Institutional and Policy Responses to the Crises of the 1970s," 1980-86. Articles in international journals, book size reports, and a book. -

"Structural Changes and Co Determination in Swedish Enterprises: Theory and Case Studies." Two reports. -

"Strategic Decision making and Co Determination in Swedish Enterprises: A National Survey of 650 Enterprises," 1981-85 (Interviews with company presidents, white collar and blue collar labor union representatives conducted at a random sample of enterprises with more than 50 employees). Two books in Swedish and one in English. -

"Wage Negotiations in Sweden," 1983-85. Two reports and chapters in books. -

"State Subsidies to Swedish Enterprises: Patterns, Effects, and Needs: A National Survey of 1200 Enterprises with less than 500 employees," 1984-85 (Ordered and financed by the Swedish Department of Industry). Two Reports. -

"Transformations of the Global System: The Perspective of Actor-System Dynamics" 1988-1994. Articles in international journals and collections. -

"Organ Transplantation: Organizational, Legal, and Cultural Aspects," 1990-1995. Two books and articles published in international journals. -

"Citizen Participation in Research: Computer Technology, Knowledge Production, and Public Processes," 1993-1994. One report. -

“Critical Care Medicine: Cognitive Dissonance and Stress among Health Care Personnel in End-of-Life Decision Situations,” 1997-2000. Articles published in international journals, reports, one dissertation, two books in preparation. -

“How does the EU make policy? EU policymaking and Lobbying in a multi-sector comparative study”, 1998-2002. Articles published in international journals, several reports, two dissertations, and a book. -

“The European Dilemma: Institutional Patterns and Politics of ‘Racial’ Discrimination.” 2001-2002. Research and Workshops supported by the European Commission Research (DGXII), The Swedish Minister of Integration, the Swedish National Integration Office, and the Multi-Ethnic Centre, Uppsala University. A series of workshops and conferences were organized. -

“The European Dilemma: Institutional Patterns and Politics of “Racial” Discrimination. An eight country comparative study” 2002- 2005. 10 book-sized reports, several books and articles published internationally -Rule systems as the basis of social organization, institutions, and culture - The sociology of technology and socio-technical systems


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