Torbjörn Forkby

Torbjörn Forkby

Department of Social Work Faculty of Social Sciences
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I am a professor in social work with a focus on children, youth, and families. This entails a commitment to support the development of research, promote high quality in education, and collaborate with practitioners and other stakeholders with the aim of improving societal conditions and living circumstances for socially vulnerable groups and individuals.

I am a social worker and have worked in practical social work, including outreach work with youth, case management, authority exercises, and leadership roles. A significant part of my professional life has also been spent at a research and development unit. This proximity to practical social work has always been crucial to my work at the university. Through collaboration between practitioners, education, and research, knowledge is created that has real significance for both professionals and the target groups of social work. In this collaboration, scientifically interesting questions can also be formulated.

My scientific approach is based on an eclectic and contextual perspective where different theories and perspectives are combined and adapted to the current issues and contexts. I have often found that the combination of new institutional organizational theory, discourse analytical approaches, and interactionism has been valuable in investigating things like knowledge-power relationships and how actors construct meaning within the framework of a particular context. One starting point is that work with human change is a form of exercising power, that power is a necessary part of processes of change, and that all exercise of power implies attempts at counterpower. In other words, studying social work as a form of exercising power articulated in a process in the interaction between involved actors in relation to organizational recommendations. It is then about examining how power is expressed, what it leads to, and whose interests are favored by the exercise of power.


My research can be divided into several themes: 

  1. Prevention efforts for youth
  2. Organizational and professional conditions within social services
  3. Participation for youth
  4. Gangs: organization, exit processes, shootings and masculinities
  5. Crossing boundaries in social work. Collaboration in partnerships in interventions in particularly vulnerable areas in Sweden
  6. Trust-building organization. Cross-border coordination for the well-being of children


Article in journal (Refereed)

Conference paper (Refereed)

Chapter in book (Refereed)

Report (Refereed)

Book (Other academic)

Chapter in book (Other academic)

Report (Other academic)

Collection (editor) (Other academic)

Article, book review (Other academic)

Chapter in book (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))