Affiliated Researcher

Åsa Burman

Åsa Burman

Ph.D., Practical Philosophy

I have a PhD in practical philosophy from Lund University. My dissertation Power and Social Ontology is about the concept of social power: What is social power? And how many types of social power are there? After defending my dissertation, I worked as a management consultant at McKinsey&Company and later in the field of social entrepreneurship. I am currently working as Director of Studies in practical philosophy at Stockholm University. I am an affiliated researcher at the Institute for Futures Studies.

My research is in the field of social ontology, which concerns questions about the foundation of society. Social ontology addresses the metaphysics of social reality, for example, by increasing our understanding of the nature of events such as the French Revolution, entities such as nations and companies, and institutions such as private property or monarchy. A related area in this field addresses social groups - what makes a social group different from a mere collection of individuals? - and how should we analyze collective action? And collective responsibility?

Questions about collective responsibility is relevant for the research project ”Individual and collective responsibility for discrimination from implicit bias” which I have participated in at the Institute for Future Studies. The project addressed what kind of moral responsibility, if any, we can have for our implicit biases (since it seems like we either do not know that we have them, and if we do, still cannot control them). This project was a collaboration with Katharina Berndt Rasmussen at the Institute for Future Studies, and it was funded by Jane and Dan Olsson’s Foundation.

Three recently published works:

  • Bli klar i tid och må bra på vägen: Handbok för doktorander (Natur & Kultur, 2017).
  • ”Social ontologi: Från sedlar och cocktailpartyn till makt och mänskliga rättigheter”, Filosofisk Tidskrift (2018).
  • ”A critique of the status-function account of human rights”, Philosophy of the Social Sciences (fortcoming).

Three frequently cited works:

  • Power and Social ontology (Bokbox Publications, 2007).
  • ”Hur rättvist är genus?” Tidskrift för politisk filosofi, nr 1, 2002.
  • ”Kan mänskliga rättighetskränkningar ske i det privata?” i antologin Mänskliga rättigheter och religion, Johan Modée och Dan-Erik Andersson (red.) (Liber Förlag, 2011).