Knowledge, Organization and Politics

Course content

The objective of the course is to examine how knowledge and political power are connected in processes that take place both internally in and between different types of organisations and sectors. The course covers formal and informal forms of politics in both private and public organisations and at all levels.

The course introduces selected theories and empirical studies rooted in three branches of sociology: organisational sociology, sociology of knowledge and political sociology. The course focuses in particular at the thematic, analytical and empirical overlaps between the three branches and interrogates a number of concepts and phenomena at this intersection such as rationality, power, legitimacy, consensus, conflict, bureaucracy and democracy.


Mandatory course at 4th semester at BA Sociology.

Learning outcome

The purpose of the course is to examine how different forms of knowledge and different modes of power interact within and between different types of organisations and in different societal sectors. The course addresses both formal and informal modes of politics in private as well as public organisations at different levels. 


Students acquire insights into concepts and theories central to the study of how knowledge, organization and politics are mutually interdependent. This includes for example concepts such as bureaucracy, public administration, different types of power and control, political trust, civil society, professions and expert knowledge etc. Upon completing the course, the student must be able to:

  • Understand the character of the Danish political system in an internationally comparative perspective by conducting analysis of democratic processes that involves different types of political organization (e.g. administrative bodies, interest organisations, private companies, social movements/NGOs, think tanks, international organizations, including the EU etc).



Through the course the student will acquire knowledge of concepts and insights that will enable him/her to conduct and evaluate sociological investigations into the most important forms of power and control in contemporary societies, and access both strengths and weaknesses of different approaches. Upon completing the course, the student must be able to:

  • Conduct his/her own inquiries of both public and private organisations’ internal and external processes in relation to policy formation and implementation, including to role played by different professions and expert knowledge.



Upon completing the course, the student must be able to:

  • Identify and analyze central problems in organizational contexts where knowledge and politics interact
  • Transfer and translate sociological concepts and insights from one policy domain to another
  • Reflect upon his/her own sociological knowledge in relation other professionals’ knowledge in different organizational and political fields. 

Lectures combined with in-class exercises

Students should acquire:

Benedikte Brincker (ed), Introduction to Political Sociology, Hans Reitzel. (2013)

The textbook will be supplemented by a collection of articles, which all are available online via the University library (i.e. must be downloaded via a UCPH ip address from campus or via a vpn connection to the UCPH network).

A full reading list is available for course participants on Absalon

General knowledge of sociological theory and methods equivalent to what is achieved through the first year of the BSc programme in sociology at UCPH

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester

Peer feed-back will be organised several times during the semester. Detailed planning will follow.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Individual or group.
A portfolio assignment is defined as a series of short assignments during the course that address one or more set questions and feedback is offered during the course.
All of the assignments are submitted together for assessment at the end of the course. The portfolio assignments must be no longer than 15 pages.
For group assignments, an extra 5 pages is added per additional student. Further details for this exam form can be found in the Curriculum and in the General Guide to Examinations at KUnet.
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

Please see the learning outcome

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Course Preparation
  • 100
  • Preparation
  • 36
  • Exam Preparation
  • 28
  • English
  • 206