Sveinung Sandberg


Academic Interests

Sveinung Sandbergs research focuses on processes of marginalisation, violence, masculinity, illegal drugs, radicalization and social movements often using a narrative or discourse analytical approach.He publishes widely on a variety of themes, but most publications are related to three separate theoretical projects.

The first one is summoned up in the concept of street capital and introduces Pierre Bourdieu’s theories to the study of street culture. Research within this project is published in a series of journal articles and in the book Street Capital: Black cannabis dealers in a white welfare state . Here he also expands upon Bourdieu by including insights from Foucault and combines these two opposites to better understand marginalized groups.

The second major project concerns contemporary cannabis use, rituals, symbolic and narratives. It takes on the dominating thesis of normalization, reconceptualises the notion of subculture, and argues that even the use of soft drugs such as cannabis still have subcultural traits. The major work is the book Cannabis Culture  (published only in Norwegian), but the project has also been published widely in international journals.  

Another theoretical project concerns the development of a theoretical and methodological framework of narrative criminology. He is central in paving the way for this research field which introduces insights from narrative analysis in sociology, anthropology, psychology, literature studies and socio-linguistics to criminology. An important publication is Narrative Criminology, edited together with Lois Presser. In his own empirical work he has used this framework to study different phenomenon, such as drug dealing and smuggling, cannabis use, binge drinking and terrorism. The Handbook of Narrative Criminology was released in 2019 and summarizes recent trends in this framework.


One of Sandberg's more recent research interest is a project on radicalization and resistance among Muslim youths. The research team explores the relationship between everyday Islam and religious extremism as well as between street culture and extremist organisations and rhetoric. This project combines sociology of religion with social movement and ethnic studies and expands beyond the traditional boundaries of criminology. It also promotes new forms of academic dissemination such as videos and advances progressive forms of team writing.


His most recent academic interest is connected to his research stay in Mexico City. Here he has been involved in life-history studies of Mexican prisoners as well as research on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on crime in Latin America.    


Higher education and employment history

Sveinung Sandberg has a PhD from the University of Bergen, and has also worked at the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the University of Oslo. In 2014 he became full professor in the Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law.

He has been visiting scholar at Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research, Aarhus University, dept. Copenhagen, European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, Lisbon, and CIDE (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas) in Mexico City. 

For full CV see personal webpage.


  • Fridtjof Nansens Award for Young Researchers, 2011
  • The Meltzer Prize for Young Researchers, 2010


  • Board member: Theoretical Criminology, Deviant Behavior, Nordic Journal of Criminology, International Criminal Justice Review, Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, Journal of Qualitative Criminal Justice and Criminology
Published Sep. 11, 2013 11:43 AM - Last modified Apr. 12, 2021 5:05 PM

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