Supporting Local Involvement in Housing Issues
Name: Thomas Grinderslev
Age: 29 years
Lives: Alingsås, Sweden
Occupation: Housing Consultant
Education: MA Degree in Sociology 2019
What are you doing right now?
I work within the Swedish Tenants' Association as a housing consultant. My role is to try to promote local involvement in different residential areas, so that it will be even better for the tenants to live there.
It is important to grasp the issues, needs and challenges that exist in an area, and be involved in pursuing visions together with the tenants. It can be anything from counteracting racial tensions, contesting evictions connected to major renovations, establishing local tenants' associations and arranging social activities as well as meetings between landlords and tenants to discuss what can be improved in an area - Simply work creating greater influence for tenants and thereby contributing to a better society.
How have your studies in sociology contributed to what you do today?
The education gave me many useful perspectives and tools in order to understand situations that arise in a residential area. Such as understanding different social groups, power relations between different actors, issues of justice, racism, and other social issues found in the housing market. The studies have given me perspective on what motivates people to get involved in changing their life situation, but also the opposite: why some people can feel powerless and alienated in everyday life.
The studies have given me perspective on what motivates people to get involved in changing their life situation, but also the opposite: why some people can feel powerless and alienated in everyday life.
I wrote my master's thesis on how social sustainability is conceived and enacted in various housing companies and afterwards I have continued to collaborate with researchers at the university. The thesis gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in many exciting theories, which in the end have given me a job!
Have your studies in sociology affected you in other ways?
I studied for a bachelor's degree in anthropology before my master's in sociology, and together these degrees have given me a complex understanding of society and fellow human beings. They have enabled me to see the world from different perspectives, and have challenged my previous preconceptions about how society works.
How did you experience your time as a student in Gothenburg?
It was a great time in many ways! I’m Danish and moved to Gothenburg at the age of 25 to be closer to my girlfriend.
Starting the master's programmeme immediately after the move was quite wonderful, finding people to hang out with, but at the same time challenging because most of them already had well-established lives and circles of friends in the city. But Gothenburg is fantastic to live in, there is a lot to discover and do, and as soon as I moved into a student residence, I made many friends.
Do you have contact with your old classmates?
Actually not, because my wife and I got married three days after submitting my master's thesis and moved to another city, but I know that some work in different authorities and administrations and that others have continued with research.
Why did you choose the MA program in sociology at the University of Gothenburg?
After studying anthropology in Aarhus (Denmark), I felt that I needed an education that was more comprehensive and at the same time more aimed at a European context. Sociology seemed to be the answer to my questions, and I think that has been true in many ways!
Do you have any advice for those who are considering applying to the programme?
My advice would be to think about what you are genuinely interested in. What do you want to understand better? Can sociology give you tools to understand these issues? Of course, it can be difficult to answer what sociology can do, but it can in any case do much more than you might think!
Of course, it can be difficult to answer what sociology can do, but it can in any case do much more than you might think!
Studying sociology rarely gives a certain job, but if you are interested in some specific questions, which you could consider working on later, I think that sociology can develop your skills very much and provide good opportunities for exciting jobs!
Working life outside the university is quite different from the somewhat idealistic university environment, but I think that if you try to immerse yourself in your interests and think about how to explain your skills to people outside the university, then there are definitely many interesting opportunities out there!