Maria Törnqvist Foto: Sara Moritz

I am a sociologist, based at Uppsala university (associate professor and senior lecturer), with broad empirical and theoretical interests. My research includes studies on elites and education, intimacy (for instance an ethnography on commercialized attachments in the Argentine tango market space) and a dissertation on the Swedish debates on gender quota. I have also published a textbook in feminist theory (with Katharina Tollin) and am currently completing an essay-novel on Maurice Merleau-Ponty.

From the fall I will be running the project ‘Fostering originality: Social reproduction, market adjustment and institutional autonomy in the Swedish Waldorf School’, funded by the Swedish research council. The project investigates the increasing recognition of the Waldorf schools among somewhat affluent social groups. The hypothesis is that the shifting status is the result of a revaluation of education according to which embodied merits such as creativity, originality and charisma are perceived as a necessary complement to traditional and formal educational credentials. Methodologically the project combines a structural, quantitative analysis targeting the shifting relational position of the Waldorf institutions over time, with ethnographic research at three strategically selected schools.

I am also completing the VR-project ‘Intimate Sociality: Practice and Identity in Collective Housing, Human-Animal Relations and Couple Dancing’. This study engages with the expanding area of close relations in late modern societies and takes off from a somewhat blind spot within the research terrain: a recognition of attachments that is neither commercialized associations in a market of goods, nor the nuclear family or the romantic couple.