Magnus Paulsen Hansen

PhD, MSc (Public Administration)

  • Universitetsvej 1, 25.3

    DK-4000 Roskilde



Research output per year

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Personal profile


If there is a common thread in my work and interests it might be legitimacy, or rather legitimation, in the sense of undertanding how certain policies, instruments and ways of thinking become accepted by experts, politicians and laymen and change over time as well as differ from one setting to another. The gradual but radical transformations of social and labour markets policies since the beginning of the 1990s up to this moment have and continues to be my paradigmatic case.

My thinking, and thus my work, takes inspiration from several disciplines and research fields. First, I have a long-standing interest in social theory. There are many others but Foucault and the French pragmatic sociology are my key sources of inspiration that have shaped my approach to power, morality and politics in general.

Second, my empirical interest in transformations of social and labour market policy naturally places some of my research within comparative political economy. I have in-depth knowledge of this field in both France and Denmark as well as at the EU level and contributed to the debate on the role of ideas in driving policy changes by bringing in insights from pragmatic sociology and my recent book, The moral economy of activation, applies same insights to engage (critically) with the comparative literature on welfare models.

Third, I have an interest in public administration and governance. This interest is central to the two research projects I am engaged in currently. In TROPICO that we are currently preparing we investigate accountability patterns in the collaborative governance of long-term unemployed persons across five European countries. I continue to be fascinated by governing through numbers, such as benchmarking and categorisation. In HECAT (starting Feb 2020) we are going to explore the use of algorithms and artificial intelligence in labour market decicion-making in public employment services.

I am decidedly a qualitative scholar with in-depth experience in document analysis and interviews and using the software nVivo for coding. In terms of methodology and methods, I am particularly interested in what it implies to carry out 'critical' research as well how to develop quality criteria for qualitative research.


  • Labour market
  • Public administration
  • Welfare state, Welfare society

Publication network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output

Foucault and Neoliberalism with Magnus Paulsen Hansen: Fully Automated Podcast

Hansen, M. P., 27 Apr 2020

Research output: Non-textual formSound/Visual production (digital)Communication

Open Access

Breaking: Djøferen er den moderne fyrste

Hansen, M. P., 21 Aug 2019, In : Eftertryk Magasin.

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewResearch

Open Access

Legitimation as justification: Foregrounding public philosophies in explanations of gradual ideational change

Carstensen, M. B. & Hansen, M. P., 1 May 2019, In : European Journal of Political Research. 58, 2, p. 582-602

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

The moral economy of activation: Ideas, politics and policies

Hansen, M. P., 11 Sep 2019, Bristol: Policy Press. 238 p. (Research in Comparative and Global Social Policy).

Research output: Book/ReportBookResearchpeer-review

Det ”sociale” og arbejdets værd(ier) i sociale virksomheder

Hansen, M. P., Apr 2018, Komparative analyser af dansk socialøkonomi: Sorgfrit udkomme & timeligt velvære?. Sørensen, K. I. & Lund, A. B. (eds.). Copenhagen Business School, p. 111-124 14 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingReport chapterResearch

Open Access



  • 5 Lecture and oral contribution
  • 1 Membership in research network

Aktiveringes moralske økonomi

Magnus Paulsen Hansen (Speaker)

3 Feb 2020

Activity: Talk or presentationLecture and oral contribution

The Moral Economy of Activation - lessons from Denmark and France

Magnus Paulsen Hansen (Speaker)

17 Oct 2019

Activity: Talk or presentationLecture and oral contribution

Aktiveringens moral - oplæg på Christiansborg

Magnus Paulsen Hansen (Speaker)

16 Dec 2019

Activity: Talk or presentationLecture and oral contribution

Aktiveringens moralske økonomi

Magnus Paulsen Hansen (Speaker)

29 Oct 2019

Activity: Talk or presentationLecture and oral contribution

Network for Pragmatic and Moral Sociology (External organisation)

Magnus Paulsen Hansen (Member), , Pelle Korsbæk Sørensen (Member), , Nicole Thualagant (Member), , Martin Severin Frandsen (Member), & Clara Ina Severin Steensen (Member)

2018 → …

Activity: MembershipMembership in research network

Press / Media