My name is Lars Ingelstam, I live in Minneberg, Bromma (part of Stockholm) and do research and writing and in addition various things related to community life, politics, music and church. On this homepage you can get some insight into my life as an academic and hints about my other interests. Most of it is in Swedish, however.
On my Swedish pages you can find out more about my family (intern länk). There is my wife Margareta, former journalist and radio producer, and in recent years above all peace and conflict-prevention educator and activist. You find also the names and whereabouts of our five children. They have, in turn, given us 13 grandchildren and one great-grand-child, a girl named Mod (which is Swedish for Courage).
Much of my life outside work has been devoted to Christian and church-related activities: part of what we now prefer to call the civil society. It has been the Christian Student Movement, the Uniting Church in Sweden (formerly the Mission Convenant Church; Svenska Missionsförbundet) and my local church Abrahamsbergkyrkan. A rewarding experience has been to serve as chairman (1998-2006) of the board of Stockholm School of Theology, a small but excellent university college, doing teaching and research in Theology as well as in Human Rights and Democracy.
And then there is music. Singing in a choir plus some flute playing and solo singing add a lot of pleasure and challenge to my life.
My professional life has followed a long path, starting with a MSc in engineering (technical physics), then a PhD in mathematics, followed by a few years as assistant and associate professor in that subject. My main professional preoccupations can, however, by summarized in two concepts: Futures Studies and Technology and Social Change.
Futures Studies. In the early 1970:s I had the privilege to formulate the agenda and direct the first 8 years of work at the Secretariat for Futures Studies (1973-1980), a government-supported but independent organization. It still exists although under a different name.
Technology and Social Change. I have always taken a keen interest in the social and cultural significance of technology. I was appointed professor (“wjth systems orientation”) at the multi-disciplinary (Tema) department of Technology and Social Change at Linköping University from its start in 1980 and remained there until my retirement in 2002. A particular line of interest has been the importance and societal embedding of energy, which led to a Programme of Energy Systems (including a national graduate school) in (1996). Also during many years I have been in interesting cooperation with the Swedish Energy Agency in the area of Systems Research.
Peace. security and friendly relations among nations. After the end of the cold war there were strong hopes of a harmonious cooperation and a reliable security order in Europe. For various reasons, this did not happen. From 2011 and onwards, I have devoted a considerable part of my efforts to analyze matters such as a broadly based security policy, Sweden and Nato, nuclear weapons and friendly relations with the Russian people; see two publications below.
SELECTED BOOKS AND ARTICLES
Looking at my publications , anyone can see that a relatively small fraction is published in English (and even fewer in German, Japanese or Arabic…). This is how things turned out, and it could have been otherwise. However, it remains an open question to what extent a Swedish social scientist ought to address a Swedish (non-specialized) public, and to what extent his findings merit international publication for the benefit of his peers.
The following publications represent part of my work and commitment during recent years.
Searching for the true nature of technology. From my early youth and in particular the 22 years in research and teching Technology and Social Change I have of course reflected a lot about the best way to approach, analyze and criticize technology. Quite recently I found reaston to gather some thoughts on the subject (for a national conference in Uppsala 2018)- This article argues that technology studies should not be immersed neither in (natural) science, nor in economics. The nature of tekcnolgy is worth looking for. Here is the paper Technology Core Issue.
Friendly Relations. Cooperation and dialogue between Russians and Swedes (2018). This booklet (60 pp.) is based on the book-length study GRANNLAGA (the title can be read as “mending neighbor relations”). Areas of existing and potential people-to-people cooperation are listed and discussed; examples are the Baltic Sea environment, the Barents region, student and researcher exchanges, culture, tourism, mass media and journalism. The material has been used e g in bilateral contacts between Russian and Swedish Pugwash.
Peace Security Defence. Shifting the balance in Swedish policy. Christian Council of Sweden/Partnerskap2014 2014 (can be downloaded here)
This is an abbreviated version of two reports in Swedish, co-authored with political scientist Anders Mellbourn. The security situation has changed drastically since 1989. The iron curtain and the cold war no longer exist. International terrorism, cyber threats, conflicts related to climate and environment and ethnic divisions have been recognized as major threats. However, concrete politics and public discussion are still dominated by a traditional view of defence as a primarily military issue.
The two reports summarized in this booklet can be seen as a case study. How can Sweden reset its security policy in order to fit this new context? Its subtitle ”Shifting the balance” means putting more emphasis – and money – into meeting new forms of security challenges and above all into prevention and active peace-building.
After 2001 the global situation again became more problematic. International terrorism and the US-led war on terrorism escalated. During the last year Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the crisis in Ukraine have meant a worsening of the security situation. The authors argue that this gives even stronger reasons to pursue a policy for confidence building and violence prevention, directed towards the Baltic region as well as other arenas in our globalized world.
Complex Technical Systems. FRN Report, Stockholm 1996.
This is a rich collection of advanced and (for the most part) original essays on understanding complexity, promoting technology and doing research on socio-technical issues. It covers subjects such as complexity and citizen participation, epistemological issues, modelling vs intuitive understanding, control and redundance as well as broad critique of Large Technical Systems research and moral issues in a systemic society.
This book has served well in various context, e g in EU research on energy. It can still be obtained through library channels or through tema T.
What Now, Development Dialogue no 1/2 1975
What Next, Development Dialogue no 47, June 2006
The first of these publications contains an essay by Göran Bäckstrand and myself (both at the time working at the Secretariat for Futures Studies in Stockholm) with the title ”How much is enough? – another Sweden”. In that paper we tried to outline reasonable changes in life-style that would be consistent with a ”New International Economic Order” meaning a more equitable and sustainable global development, what the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation (DHF) termed Another Development. Since our proposals touched very concrete matters, such as our meat-rich diet and generous use of private automobiles, it got keen public attention during a couple of years, in Sweden as well as internationally. A follow-up was initiated by the DHF in 2005-2006, which resulted in a rather long essay in a 2006 special issue of the same journal: ”Enough!: Global challenges and responsible lifestyles.”
If you are interested in my work or related activities, or if you want to trace some publications do not hesitate to contact me!
Mail: Svartviksslingan 83, SE-16738 Bromma, Sweden
Telephone: +46 8 266650
Cell phone: +46 70 578 2257