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Morten Sager

Senior lecturer

Morten Sager
Senior lecturer
Theory of Science
+46 31 786 4722

Room number: T344
Postal Address: Box 200, 40530 Göteborg
Visiting Address: Renströmsgatan 6 , 41255 Göteborg
Duties: Programme coordinator for Master's programme in evidence-basing

Linguistics, Logic and Theory of Science unit at Department of Philosophy, Linguistics, Theory of Science (More Information)
Box 200
405 30 Göteborg
Visiting Address: Renströmsgatan 6 , 412 55 Göteborg

About Morten Sager

In my doctoral dissertation I use actor-network theory (ANT) to try out different ways of understanding how multiple actors, in the USA, related to stem cell research.

Currently, I study the newly implemented system for health insurance in Sweden. In the research project, we are interested in studying how universal standards such as the sick-listing recommendations confront and structure the practical use of the recommendations in physicians everyday clinical experience. The research project consists of two sections, where the first section focuses on the background to the recommendations and on the grounds based on which the recommendations have been developed, and the second section focuses on how physicians perceive the recommendations and their role in the clinical operations and as a basis for dialogue between various actors in the sick-listing process. The project is a collaboration between researchers from the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine and researchers from the Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science. The research project is running during 2010-2012.

Recently (2006-2010) I have been involved in a research project about evidence-based medicine (EBM) together with Ingemar Bohlin (The Department of Sociology at The University of Gothenburg ): “A Double Movement: Production and Application of Knowledge within Evidence-Based Medicine”. The project dealt with how EBM was configured and established during (and before) the 1980s and 90s, and how this concept is now being implemented in Swedish health care. A major output of the project is the edited volume Evidensens många ansikten [The Many Faces of Evidence] published in the spring of 2011 on Arkiv förlag with Bohlin and myself as editors.

In the project we identified and analyzed the underlying assumptions about objectivity and reliability of the evidence-based methodology. Actor-network theory (ANT) was the main theoretical resource.
Bohlin looked at the path from individual studies (such as Randomized Clinical Studies, RCTs) to the general summaries of reliable evidence. One important contribution by Bohlin, published in Evidensens många ansikten, was the uncovering of a multiplicity in the very origin of the evidence-based movement. At least four historical developments have anticipated and contributed to the movement: the outcomes movement, clinical epidemiology, meta-analysis, and the RCT. These developments cause insoluble tensions that remain in today’s performance of evidence-based medicine. In my research on the implementation of new guidelines these tensions (re-)appear between different actors on various levels.

My part of the project dealt with the movement from the general back to the individual (i.e. the clinical practice) with a special focus on cardiac health care in Sweden. The movement was followed across several levels, from the Swedish Council on Health Technology Assessment (SBU) and the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen), via regional health politicians, health care managements and directors, to practicing doctors. Effects intended from higher levels of decision-making are often absent on the lower (not least the lowest) levels. Formulated in ANT-terms, it has been difficult to translate the actors’ interests sufficiently in order to arrive at the coordination of decisions and practices desired by the National Board; black boxes are not always (but sometimes) successfully created. As well the authorities’ actions as lower-level attitudes toward the initiatives build on specific assumptions about the nature of clinical competence and the presumed bases for clinical interventions. Different assumptions can be traced back to the historical developments explored by Bohlin. More specifically, I describe how administrators and the guidelines of the National Board of Health and Welfare rely on relevance typical of the outcomes movement while clinical cardiologists and SBU emphasize the stringency of evidence following from meta-analysis and RCTs. These conflicting views result in disagreements on the pace of implementation of two new device treatments in preventive heart care.

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Latest publications

Morten Sager, Isabella Pistone
LHC Report Nr 3. Moderna Policies: Inspel för en framtidsinriktad hälso- och sjukvårdsdebatt, Stockholm, Stiftelsen Leading Health Care, Report chapter 2019
Report chapter

Suicidprevention genom utbildning och medvetandegöranden
Isabella Pistone, Ulrika Beckman, Helena Lagerlöf, Erik Eriksson, Eija Airaksinen et al.
Stockholm, Folkhälsomyndigheten, Report 2019

Att förebygga våldsbejakande extremism : En systematisk kartläggning av insatser
Erik Eriksson, Ulrika Beckman, Morten Sager
Göteborg, Segerstedtsinstitutet, Report 2018

Evidensbasering i en rörig värld
Morten Sager
Tidningen Chefer och Ledare i Vården, Magazine article 2016
Magazine article

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Showing 31 - 38 of 38


Mellan evidens och kompetens
Morten Sager
Program för Teknik- och vetenskapshistoriska dagar, 10-12 november, Lindholmen Science Park, Göteborg, Conference contribution 2010
Conference contribution


En bildad blick på bioteknik
Morten Sager
På spaning efter teknisk bildning, (red) Ingerman, Å., Wagner, K. & Axelsson, A-S, Stockholm, Liber, Chapter in book 2009
Chapter in book


Evidens i regionalt limbo
Morten Sager
Nationell workshop om evidensbaserad medicin, Göteborg, 20 maj. , Conference contribution 2008
Conference contribution

Making Evidence Move
Morten Sager
Abstract Book of Society for Social Studies of Science and European Association for the Study of Science and Technology, Conference paper 2008
Conference paper

Motsägelsefulla evidensrörelser
Morten Sager
Möte för svenska STS-nätverket, Göteborg, 13-14 november , Conference contribution 2008
Conference contribution



Pluripotent Circulations: Analyzing Articulations of Stem Cells in the USA, prior to 2001
Morten Sager
Göteborg, Göteborg University, Doctoral thesis 2005
Doctoral thesis


Stem Cells of America
Morten Sager
Public Proofs: Science, Technology and Democracy, Conference contribution 2004
Conference contribution

Showing 31 - 38 of 38

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