Vilhelm Aubert

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Vilhelm Aubert (born June 7, 1922 , † July 19, 1988 ) was a Norwegian sociologist who mainly taught, researched and published in the field of legal sociology and deviant behavior ( deviance ). Aubert was a co-founder of the Institutt for samfunnsforsking (ISF) ("Institute for Social Research") in Oslo .


Aubert studied law at the University of Oslo in 1940 . He was active in the resistance during the occupation of Norway in World War II by German troops . He belonged to the XU organization . After graduating, he studied sociology from 1946 at Columbia University in New York . His doctorate took place in 1954. From 1963 he was professor of sociology at the University of Oslo.


His experiences in the resistance were later incorporated into the concept of the hidden society , which he developed in the 1965 essay “ Secrecy. The underground as a social system "(in: The Hidden Society , pp. 288-310; 331/2) published.

As a social scientist, Vilhelm Aubert took an institution- related , dynamic “ functionalist ” approach and distinguished object-related in the scientific methodological sense of the definition of the term (“ definitio per genus proximum et differentiam specificum ”), for example in the aforementioned “underground essay”, between different meaningful meanings of the same action (s) and their visibility from / to the inside and outside.

A study on the sociology of deviant behavior that was noticed at the time was Vilhelm Aubert's article on the criminality of the powerful (“ White-Collar-Crime and Social Structure ”), first published in the USA in 1952 in the American Journal of Sociology , which has since been reprinted many times (for Example in " White-Collar Crime. Offenses in Businesses, Politics, and the Professions ", ed. By Gilbert Geis / Robert Meier, The Free Press, New York 1977).

As far as can be seen, in contrast to other Norwegian social scientists such as Stein Rokkan as a comparative political scientist (Bergen) or Johan Galtung as an international peace researcher (Oslo), there are hardly any German-language articles about Vilhelm Aubert, whose older man is better known abroad - and also in Germany , colleague Arvid Brodersen (1904–1997) , who is traditionally humanities-oriented and phenomenologically working, the younger, empirically working and educational social analysis claiming Vilhelm Aubert in his general memoirs "From my nomadic life" (" Fra et nomadeliv. Erindringer "; Oslo: Gyldendal nosk forlag, Oslo: Gyldendal nosk forlag, 1982, 364 pp.) Not mentioned, but in his report under the title “Sociology as an experience” (“ Sosiologi som opplevelse ”; Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, series “Det Blå Bibliotek”, 1994). The important role of Vilhelm Aubert and the less significant function of Arvid Brodersen as a cosmopolitan "conservative existentialist" (Rune Slagsstad) in the process of institutionalizing a ' Norsk sociologi ' at the University of Oslo was last addressed in a specialist historical essay by Gunn Elisabeth Birkelund in 2006: " The genesis of Norwegian sociology: A story of failures and success ”; Sociology Working Papers, Paper No. 2006-05, Department of Sociology, University of Oxford. In a previous professional historical contribution to the history of Norsk sociologi and Vilhelm Aubert's claim to profile sociology as an enlightenment science to strengthen the rule of rationality in public debates, Aubert was presented as the sociologist who, more than anyone else, was able to define and develop sociology as a broad social science in Norway after the Second World War (so Ragnvald Kalleberg, “The Most Important Task of Sociology is to Strengthen and Defend Rationality in Public Discourse”: On the Sociology of Vilhelm Aubert ; in: Acta Sociologica , 2000, Vol. 43, H. 4, pp. 399-411).

Fonts (selection)

  • “Some social functions of legislation”, in: Ernst E. Hirsch / Manfred Rehbinder (eds.): Studies and materials for legal sociology , 1967, pp. 284–309
  • Elements of sociology , New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1967, (also: London: Heinemann, 1969, ²1970)
  • The hidden society , Totawa: The Bedminster Press, 1965; Reprint, with an introduction by Howard S. Becker , New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, 1983 (Social Science Classics Series)
  • Penguin Modern Sociology Readings: Sociology Of Law (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books 024963, n. D.)
  • In search of law: sociological approaches to law , Oxford: Martin Robertson, 1983
  • Continuity and development in law and society , Oslo: Norwegian University Press, 1989

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