PhD defence: Jakob Laage-Thomsen

In order to obtain the PhD degree, Jakob Laage-Thomsen has submitted his thesis entitled: Nudging Leviathan, Protecting Demos A Comparative Sociology of Public Administration and Expertise in the Nordics

Friday, August 19, 2022 - 14:00 to 16:00

Jakob Laage-Thomsen

The thesis investigates how interactions between public administrative systems and systems of professions and expertise change how citizens are viewed and treated by the state. It does so through comparative studies in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, in combination with historical and policy mapping methods, to show how professional projects travel from their origins in the expert system, which includes the public universities, to impinge on bureaucratic expertise. The thesis builds on case studies of the rise of Behavioral Insights – the strategic use of human biases, nudging and experimental methods, to make public policy and administration more effective – and the development of ‘all-hazards’ approaches to public health security systems –the kinds of systems and preparedness planning that are meant to prevent, mitigate, and respond to public health crises such as pandemics. The thesis contributes to the literatures of public administration and sociology of professions and expertise, integrating insights from both. It contributes to the discussion of how the system of actors who diagnose policy problems and implementation are transformed and how sources of authority and legitimation are changing.

Primary Supervisor:
Professor Leonard Seabrooke

Department of Organization

Copenhagen Business School


Secondary Supervisors:

Professor Anders Blok

Sociologisk Institut

Copenhagen University


Assessment Committee:

Associate Professor Frans Bevort (Chair)

Department of Organization

Copenhagen Business School


Professor Mirko Noordegraaf

Law, Economics and Governance

Universiteit Utrecht


Professor Diane Stone

School of Transnational Governance

European University Institute


The thesis will be available from


The CBS PhD School will host a reception, which will take place immediately after the defence at the tables outside the kitchen of IOA. 4th floor.

Organised by

CBS PhD School


19 august 2022




Copenhagen Business School
Kilen 14Kilen
2000 Frederiksberg
Room: Ks48


The page was last edited by: Sekretariat for Ledelse og Kommunikation // 07/11/2023