Maarten Hajer appointed Honorary Professor in Copenhagen
Maarten Hajer, Professor of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam and Director of PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, recently was appointed Honorary Professor of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen. He will hold his acceptance speech in Denmark on 26 April.
Maarten Hajer was appointed because of his impressive career as a scientist and because of his ability to link science to actual practice. In the appointment report, the Danes applaud his research into (changes in) political discourse. ’When politicians talk, we are often told to listen, particularly to the underlying message, the "convictions". I make a point of researching the message itself, the wording of it. It is the discourse itself and the changes within it that enable party coalitions.’
Weird turning points
The Danes are also very interested in Maarten Hajer’s research into the roles of other political actors. ’In this, my focus is specifically on citizens, consumers and action groups, instead of on politicians and other authorities. My particular fascination concerns what I call "weird turning points", such as was the case in the deliberate sinking of former oil platform Brent Spar. Shell complied with all regulations, and yet the sinking kicked up a public storm when Greenpeace got involved. Another example would be that of the Mars bars, which, due to pressures from action groups, from 2012 onwards will contain only sustainable cocoa and from 2015 also only sustainable palm oil. Such a turn around of power and influence is very interesting to study.’
A bridge between scientific theory and actual practice
As director of PBL, he has managed to very convincingly build a bridge between science and actual practice – another important reason for the University of Copenhagen to offer him this honorary professorship. Maarten Hajer is pleased with the offer: ‘Of course, it’s an honour, but for collaboration between scientists it is also very convenient to be ‘one of the family’ at another university.
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