Professor Janus Hansen

IASH European Fellow

Professor Janus Hansen, University of Copenhagen
IASH European Fellow, April - July 2020

Janus Hansen has recently resigned from a 5+ year tenure as chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) and is now an Associate Professor in the same department. Prior to joining UCPH as department chair he was associate professor (2011-2014) and assistant professor (2006-2011) at the Department of Business and Politics at Copenhagen Business School (CBS). He holds a Ph.D. from the European University Institute in Florence (2005) and an MSc in Sociology from UCPH (2000).

Janus’ research interests focus on the interplay between science & technology, politics and the public sphere. He is particularly interested in the social basis and institutional dynamics of public controversies over technologies such as agricultural and medical biotechnology, the role of scientific expertise in the governance of science and technology as well as public engagement with and participation in  technological innovation. His occupation with these topics is combined with a more general interest in contemporary sociological theory.

Public engagement the age of climate change adaptation

Having just completed a prolonged period of administrative service and now enjoying a sabbatical from my home institution at the University of Copenhagen, the primary purpose of my fellowship at the IASH is to outline the contours of a future research agenda. My plan is to prepare for the engagement with two (somewhat) interrelated issues in my future research.
One issue pertains to how public support, engagement and enthusiasm can be established and secured for the kind of climate change adaptations the world inevitably will have to embark on in the years to come. The demands on societal institutions will be immense and can only succeed if there is public legitimacy around the adaptation-projects. This will likely require new modes of public engagement and democratic interventions, which will be intriguing to follow in real time as they develop.
A second issue relates to my involvement at my home institution in the plans establish an interdisciplinary research centre on societal regulation on emerging health technologies. Here I hope to contribute a sociological perspective on the interplay between innovation capacity, regulatory expertise and public engagement.
For both of these upcoming research agendas I expect to engage as much as possible with relevant scholars in Edinburgh and harvest inspiration to re-ignite my life as an active researcher.