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Morten Brænder

Associate Professor, Centre Director

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Morten Brænder

Associate Professor, Centre Director

  • Department of Political Science
  • School of Communication and Culture - Centre for University Studies in Journalism
Type of address: Postal address.
Bartholins Allé 7
1331, 228
Aarhus C
Type of address: Postal address.
Helsingforsgade 14
5335, 157
Aarhus N

Email: mortenb@ps.au.dk

Phone: +4593521316

Biographical data

Born Februar 17, 1975. Married to high school teacher Lisbeth Brænder
Children: Svend William Brænder (2003), Esther Margrethe Brænder (2007) & Hedvig Vera Brænder (2010)

Research Profile

Associate Professor Morten Brænder holds a MA in History of Ideas and Comparative Religion, and a Ph.D. in political science. He is Director of the Centre for University Studies in Journalism.

As Associate Professor in Political Science, his primary research areas include military sociology, motivational and leadership studies, and the relation between religion and politics. Currently, he is in charge of a project studying the significance of reforms of the Danish officer education, in corporation with the Royal Danish Defence Academy. In the Post Doctoral project, Why they Serve, Morten Brænder examined how deployment to war affected the motivation and craving for excitement of Danish combat troops. And his Ph.D. dissertation Justifying the Ultimate Sacrifice – Civil and Military Religion in Frontline Blogs was a study of how US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan used Civil Religion to justify their war participation. Morten Brænder has published in Danish, English and German. Along with Professor Lotte Bøgh Andersen, he received ”The William Mosher & Fredrich E. Mosher Award” for the best article in the top-tier journal Public Administration Review in march 2014.

Employment and Education

Director, Centre for University Studies in Journalism - Department of Communication and Culture
February 1, 2018 - present

Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Aarhus University
January 1, 2014 - present

Ph.D. Department of Political Science, Aarhus University, December 2009
MA, Department for the History of Ideas and Department of Comparative Religion, Aarhus University, June 2005


1. Ny uddannelse - nye værdier?

Brænder, M.


2. Watch Dogs of Democracy

Brænder, M. & Kühle, L.


3. Center for Journalistiske Universitetsuddannelser

Brænder, M.


4. Krænkelsesadfærd i Forsvaret

Brænder, M.


2016-2019: "New education - new values? A study of the new Officer educations". In coorporation with the Royal Danish Defence Academy.

With the Parliamentary Defence Settlement in 2012, the Officer Educations in Denmark are going to change drastically. In coorporation with Department of Leadership and Organisation, and the Royal Danish Defence Academy, I examine the significance of these changes for the officers and for the development of cadet values.


Network or hierarchy? Personality profiles of future military leaders

Gøtzsche-Astrup, O., Brænder, M. & Holsting, V. S., Jul 2022, In: Nordic Psychology. 74, 3, p. 183-204 22 p.

The Power of Experience? Innovative and Authoritative Leadership Values Among Danish Army Cadets

Brænder, M. & Holsting, V. S., Jan 2022, In: Armed Forces and Society. 48, 1, p. 70-91 22 p.

Metodologi og metode: Om forskellen på værktøjer og forståelsesrammer og hvad den betyder i praksis

Brænder, M., 2022, In: Politica. 54, 4, p. 389-408 20 p.

The Military Profession under Pressure

Brænder, M., 2021, Transformations of the Military Profession and Professionalism in Scandinavia. Obling, A. R. & Tillberg, L. V. (eds.). København: Scandinavian Journal of Military Studies Press, p. 187-207 19 p.

A New Spirit of Militarism? Person–Organization Fit and Economies of Worth Among New Military Cadets

Holsting, V. S. & Brænder, M., 2020, Rethinking Military Professionalism for the Changing Armed Forces. Hachey, K. K., Libel, T. & Dean, W. H. (eds.). Cham: Springer, p. 165-188 24 p.

Transgression within Boundaries: a qualitative study of excitement motivation among combat troops

Brænder, M., 2020, In: Qualitative Psychology. 7, 1, p. 23-42 20 p.

Screened to lead: How Future Military Officers differ from their Civilian Counterparts

Brænder, M., Gøtzsche-Astrup, O. & Holsting, V. S., 2019.

Stat og samfund

Brænder, M. & Laustsen, C. B., 2019, Sociologiens problemer : En grundbog. Blok, A. & Laustsen, C. B. (eds.). København: Hans Reitzels Forlag, p. 465-490 26 p.

Vold og krig i et sociologisk perspektiv

Brænder, M., 2019, Sociologiens problemer: en grundbog. Blok, A. & Laustsen, C. B. (eds.). København: Hans Reitzels Forlag, p. 661-680 20 p.

What sets the officer apart? Dutch and Danish educational reforms leading to the habitus of the thinking soldier

Brænder, M., Jansen, M. M. & Moelker, R., 2019, Educating officers: the thinking soldier - the NLDA and the Bologna Declaration. Klinkert, W., Bollen, M., Jansen, M., de Jong, H., Kramer, E-H. & Vos, L. (eds.). The Hague: Springer, p. 337-353 17 p. (NL ARMS Netherlands Annual Review of Military Studies).

Like attracts like: Military values and branch affiliation of cadets after the reform

Brænder, M. & Holsting, V. S., 2017.

"Sage mir, wofür Du sterben wirst, so sage ich Dir, wer Du bist": Krieg als ein zivilreligiöses Ritual

Brænder, M., 2017, "God Bless America" Zivilreligion in den USA im 20. Jahrhundert. Bungert, H. & Weiss, J. (eds.). Campus Verlag, p. 163-190 38 p.

Adrenalin Junkies: Why Soldiers Return from War Wanting More

Brænder, M., 2016, In: Armed Forces and Society. 42, 1, p. 3-25 23 p.

Fast er foranderlig? Arbejdskontekstens betydning for offentligt ansattes public service-motivation

Kjeldsen, A. M., Boye, S., Brænder, M., Jacobsen, C. B. & Jensen, U. T., 2016, In: Økonomi og Politik. 89, 4, p. 15-28 14 p.

Deployment and Dehumanization: A Multi-Method Study of Combat Soldiers’ Loss of Empathy

Brænder, M., 2015, In: RES militaris. 5, 2, p. 1-18 18 p.

Panel Analysis: When to Use It and What to Consider When Collecting and Analyzing Panel Data

Brænder, M. & Andersen, L. B., 2014

Samfundsvidenskabelig tekstanalyse

Brænder, M., Kølvraa, C. L. & Laustsen, C. B., 2014, København: Hans Reitzels Forlag. 280 p. (Samfundsvidenskabernes Metoder).

Soldier and Civilian Motivation - Different or Similar? A Comparison of Public Service Motivation for Civilians and Military Personnel

Brænder, M. & Andersen, L. B., 2014, In: Journal of political & military sociology. 42, p. 1-28 28 p.

Deployment and dehumanisation

Brænder, M., 2013. 23 p.

Does Deployment to War Affect Public Service Motivation? A Panel Study of Soldiers Before and After Their Service in Afghanistan

Brænder, M. & Andersen, L. B., 2013, In: Public Administration Review. 73, 3, p. 466–477

”It's my job. I am a professional”: An Explorative Panel Study of Combat Soldiers motivations and how it helps them deal with their Deployment Experiences

Brænder, M., 2013. 35 p.

Soldier motivation – different or similar? A Comparison of Public Service Motivation for Civilians and Military Personnel

Brænder, M. & Andersen, L. B., 2012, (Submitted). 27 p.

Fortællinger fra fronten. En narrativ analyse af civilreligiøse elementer i militære blogs

Brænder, M., 2011, In: Politica. Tidsskrift for politisk videnskab. 43, 2, p. 206-228 23 p.

Tolerance and Cultural Diversity Discourses in Denmark

Jensen, K., Nielsen, J. H., Brænder, M., Mouritsen, P. & Olsen, T. V., 2010, European University Institute. 43 p.

"Fare, fare, krigsmand": Den skjulte religion i krig

Brænder, M., 2009, In: Oekonomi og Politik. 82, 2, p. 38-49 12 p.

Korstogstankens reformulering i 1600-tallets England

Brænder, M., 2007, In: Religionsvidenskabeligt Tidsskrift. 49, p. 75-92 18 p.

Hellig krig og civilreligion: Om den religiøse volds forskydning fra kirkens til nationens domæne

Brænder, M., 2005, In: Distinktion. 10, p. 135-150 15 p.

Research Sojourns

March-July 2012: Visiting Assistant Professor, Washington College, Chestertown, MD Sponsor: Associate Professor, Ryan Kelty August-December 2007: Visiting Student Research Collaborate (VSRC), Department of Sociology & Center for the Study of Religion, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ Sponsor: Professor Robert Wuthnow

Educational Experience

Morten Brænder has been in charge of and taught courses for BA, MA and PhD. students in Political Science. Here, he has taught Methods, Political Theory, and Public Administration among other subjects, supervised numerous MA dissertations, and co-supervises Ph.D. dissertations as well. As lecturer, as Assistant Professor and as Associate Professor, he has also taught causes at the Teachers’ College, at the Department of Business Communication, and in the MA study of Diakonia.

Linguistic skills

Fluent in Danish and English, masters German and French, reads New Testament Greek