E-mail: hans.tunestad@socant.su.se
Room: B648


Hans Tunestad is researcher and teacher at the Department of Social Anthropology at Stockholm University, from where he also received his PhD in 2014. His main areas of academic interest include tourism, organization, science and technology studies, media studies, environmental and medical anthropology. His general research orientation has so far been towards fields where the common dichotomy in modern industrial society between the ‘private’ and the ‘public’ tend to dissolve, where the apparently opposing obligations to ‘become oneself’ and to follow common rules and regulations overlap, exploring the social dynamic generated by these opposing forces, including potential conflicts and possibilities, as well as how different actors try to handle and make sense of all this.

Tunestad’s doctoral dissertation, called The Therapeutization of Work: The Psychological Toolbox as Rationalization Device during the Third Industrial Revolution in Sweden (2014), and funded by the department and by Handelsbankens forskningsstiftelser, investigated the field of work-enabling self-help psychology. Though the organization of work in the Western welfare states has made use of psychological know-how since the early twentieth century, the shift in organizational ideals the last decades – from large hierarchical structures to networks of self-governing units – has meant new possibilities for the deployment of psychological knowledge in organizational management. Taking the greater Stockholm area in Sweden as its geographical starting point the study, through a variant of multi-sited fieldwork, investigates the distribution of psychological know-how in and through different institutions – such as school, work life, health care – by which the average ‘worker-citizen’ is supposed to acquire a ‘psychological toolbox’, thus becoming a kind of amateur psychologist or therapist, a type of actor ready and able to take responsibility for his or her own productivity, well-being and health. The study depicts how this ideal of psychological self-regulation takes form in discourse and practices, and how it emerged as a part of the technological and organizational developments sometimes labelled the third industrial revolution.

Hans Tunestad is currently doing research on scuba diving tourism, so far funded by the department and the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography (SSAG). Scuba diving has today become a global tourist activity counting millions of practitioners. With a focus on the more general aspects, though open for possible local variation, the project will include terrestrial as well as underwater ethnographic fieldwork in several locations around the globe. Scuba diving is in this project seen as a specific form of human enhancement, where advanced technology is integrated with human physiology, thus making possible a temporary underwater existence. The aim of the project is to better understand both the structural and experiential aspects of this specific form of tourism. The project thereby investigates how the transnational scuba diving industry – including certification processes, mass mediated tourist images, and the production of underwater locals and localities as well as equipment – enables this particular form of tourism, but also tries to understand how and why the participants are, so to speak, captured by the ocean.

Tunestad has a broad teaching experience, mainly from the Department of Social Anthropology at Stockholm University, but also from the Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology at Uppsala University. He has taught courses in the history of anthropology, anthropological theory and method, transnational anthropology, environmental anthropology, medical anthropology, economic anthropology, and more. He has supervised a large number of bachelor student, as well a number of master students.

Publications include:


  • ‘The Therapeutic Square: The Psychotherapy Fair from an Anthropological Perspective’. In Ethnographies of Conferences and Trade Fairs: Shaping Industries, Creating Professionals, Hege Høyer Leivestad and Anette Nyqvist (eds). Palgrave MacMillan.


  • The Therapeutization of Work: The Psychological Toolbox as Rationalization Device during the Third Industrial Revolution in Sweden. Stockholm: Stockholm University.


  • ”När är fältet? Möjligheter och problem i fältets temporala kontextualisering”. In Antropologi och tid, Mattias Viktorin and Charlotta Widmark (eds). Stockholm: Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography.