Lars Frers

Faculty of Humanities, Sports and Educational Science
Department of Culture, Religion and Social Studies
Campus Notodden (S-437D)
In my research, I explore the tension between research practice and theory, with a focus on sensory methods, research ethics, and the sociology of science.



My main interest as researcher is to understand, present and critique how our surroundings shape the way we interact with others. We perceive and interact with our surroundings and that leads us in certain directions, makes us do some things and not do other things. This way, we experience and (re)produce social control – as children, as handicapped people, as white people, …

How is this control established through our senses? How can we notice and act upon something that is “in” our senses and bodies? To get a grip on these questions, I often make use of visual and multisensory methods, putting the body into focus and studying the way it moves through and relates to its surroundings. But we experience more than mere materiality or “stuff”, which led me to do research on the experience of absence.

In addition, I am also interested in research’s grey zones and failures, an area in which I recently was guest editor for a special issue in Qualitative Research with the title “Hierarchy and inequality in research”.  I find it important to understand how an ethics of care can be established and maintained when we do research, but also in professional practice in general.

Research areas (keywords)

qualitative methods; failure in research and professional practice; research ethics; space–materiality–mobility; body & the senses; phenomenology & ethnomethodology; science & technology studies (STS); urban studies; heritage; social control & resistance; absence; climate change

Research projects & networks

2015: member of Telemark University College’s research committee

Peer review for: Theory, Culture & Society; Qualitative Research; Cultural Geographies; Recherches sociologiques et anthropologiques; Qualitative Sociology; Space and Culture; Urban Studies; Current Sociology; Visual Studies; Nature and Culture; Area; Transfers; Journal of Urban Cultural Studies; Österreichische Zeitschrift für Soziologie; Sosiologisk Tidsskrift; Ambiance; Kriminologisches Journal; FORMakademisk; Europa Regional; Nordisk kulturpolitisk tidsskrift; Norsk Pedagogisk Tidsskrift; Bebyggelsehistorisk tidskrift; and for Ashgate Publishers (the list is incomplete).

Main supervisor for finished PhDs: Vibeke Sjøvoll (OsloMet), Åsne Håndlykken-Luz (USN), Liv Lofthus (USN), Ana Koncul (USN); secondary supervisor for Ann Hege Lorvik Waterhouse (USN), Melissa A. Murphy (NMBU), Karin Hognestad (USN), Marit Bøe (USN).


I studied sociology at Universität Kiel, Humboldt Universität Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin (all in Germany) and at Indiana Unversity Bloomington (USA). I received my diploma (Dipl. Soz, equivalent to MA) from Freie Universität Berlin in 2002. At Technische Universität Darmstadt (Germany) I had a PhD scholarship and received a Dr. phil. (PhD) in sociology in 2006. Afterwards I worked as janitor, and as postdoc and researcher in several institutions: Technische Universität Darmstadt, Universitet i Oslo, Arkitektur- og Designhøgskolen and at Universität Hamburg. From 2012 onwards I had a permanent position at Telemark University College (which later became part of USN), where I was promoted to full professor in 2014. I also had a position as professor for qualitative methods at NTNU’s Department of Sociology and Political Science from 2014-2015.

In 2019, I was appointed as leader of the board for USN’s PhD in Culture Studies and elected as member of USN’s board.

For a full cv, more information and direct download links for my publications see my ResearchGate and Google Scholar profiles and my not-really-updated personal website.

Publications in Cristin