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Kari E. Wærness is knighted

The renowned sociologist Kari E. Wærness has been awarded the Royal Norwegian Order of Saint Olav. She receives the order for her services to society.

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Professor emerita Kari Wærness
BEKNIGHTED: Professor emerita Kari E. Wærness has been awarded the Royal Norwegian Order of Saint Olav for her excellent research in sociology.
Photo:
Silje Gripsrud, University of Bergen

The knighting is a recognition of the outstanding work and research Kari E. Wærness has done over the years. Primarily in the fields of gender, social care and old age research. She was a key player in the development of the Department of Sociology at the University of Bergen (UiB).

“A knighthood is quite out of the ordinary,” says Kari E. Wærness and laughs, “but it is of course a pleasant surprise. At the same time, this is just the kind of recognition you don’t expect when you perform you research.”

An activist researcher

Besides her work as a researcher, Wærness has also been active in public discussions and activism.

“All my research was powered by a bottom-up community involvement. Being a feminist and experience that women’s domestic work was not valued, drove me as a researcher,” says Wærness.

“I have also been very fortunate, since I have only done research that I liked. Best of all is that my research was always based on my engagement with society and was not primarily driven by theory.”

New glory days for sociology

Meanwhile, she observes that society has not changed in a way she would have desired when she started her academic career. And she believes that younger colleagues have a harder time than she did when it comes to being heard.

“I hope this award can add fuel to the ideas I once had about bringing about change in society. When I look at the people at the Department of Sociology today, and many of these are my former students, then I hope that sociology as a subject will attain the status it once had, she says before optimistically adding:

“I wish that sociology will find new glory days!”