University of Gothenburg

Our doctoral students and their dissertation projects

Meet our students! Here you can read more about the dissertation projects that are currently in progress and find out what research questions our doctoral students are engaged in.

Anna Gidlöf 

Dissertation topic: The civil society and the responsibility for newly arrived immigrants

This study focuses on narratives from civil society  (non-governmental organisations, individuals, religious communities etc.) about civil society’s reception and support to newly arrived immigrants in Sweden. 

Annette Fridström

Dissertation topic: Children's experiences of meeting professionals in the social services' child care investigations

The aim of the project is to examine how children experience meeting professionals in the social services when they are involved in a child investigation. The knowledge to be found on this topic seems to be mainly retrospective and concern children who have received out-of-home care. There seems to be a gap in the knowledge base regarding children’s experiences in the present regardless if the investigation leads to obtaining a service or not. I will first conduct a scoping review in order to explore what is already known about children’s experiences. Secondly I will interview children about their experiences and hopefully also get a chance to observe the children when they meet the child investigators.  

Consolee Uwihangana

Dissertation topic: Sustainable development of Rwandan family: Learning from Indigenous practices of gender equality and contemporary gender equality trends

The  motivation of this research project is to  analyze how changes brought by gender equality, gender policies and laws are affecting families in the African Great lakes Region in general, especially in Rwanda. The research questions are 1) What is known in the research concerning gender policies in African Great lakes Region in general and in Rwanda in particular? 2) How can indigenous practices of gender equality inform contemporary gender policies? 3) How do women understand the traditional and contemporary roles of men and women in the family, following gender policies? How do men perceive their involvement in the promotion of gender polies in Rwanda?  It is a compilation thesis with four papers: 1) A scoping review of the impact of gender equality, gender policies and laws on the family in African Great lakes Region. 2)Indigenous practices of gender equality and contemporary gender policies: Gains or not for the Rwandan society? 3) Women´s voices on roles of men and women in the Rwandan family and society.  4) With or without them? Involvement of men in the promotion of gender equality: shortcomings and way forward.

Daniel Ståhl

Dissertation topic: Disabled people and neurological disease

The purpose of the dissertation is to study how people with neurological disease are affected by disability. The focus of the study is on disability, which are the obstacles that a person with an impairment encounters in relation to society. In the dissertation, impairment, which has traditionally been the subject of research, will not primarily be examined even if it is recognized as part of the people's life situation.

Elias Ternström

Dissertation topic: The ineffable suffering – a qualitative study about trying to explain,
 being understood and being medicalised in experiences of depression that cannot be articulated

The dissertation, which is a monograph, is founded on three research questions: (1) What can it be like to try to articulate indescribable experiences of depression to other people? (2) What can it be like to feel understood by another person in otherwise indescribable experiences? (3) How (if) are new meanings of depression formed in contact with professionals. The aim is for this knowledge to contribute to an increased understanding of experiences of depression among professionals, and for this to lead to improved patient/client meetings. It is also central to make the knowledge relevant for practical social work. 

Fanny Holt

Dissertation topic: Professional Emotions and Emotion
 Management in the Swedish Social Services

The situation in the Swedish social service has been described as particularly problematic. Overwhelming caseload, staff turnover, stress related illnesses and high sick leave rates have been reported in almost every service district in the country. Somewhere between the ethical principles and core values of the profession and the bureaucratic, time pressured and budgetary constrained reality, tensions seem to rise. The purpose of the PhD project is to contribute to an understanding of social workers’ emotions and emotion management in relation to the situation in the Swedish social services. The thesis is based on a combination of ethnographic methods: interviews, observations and shadowing, combined with text analysis of central documents such as legislation, regulatory documents and ethical guidelines.   

Hanna Mac Innes

Dissertation topic: It relates - Sexuality, sexual health and social work

This dissertation explores three processes regarding sexuality and 
sexual health. It concerns 1) the state interest on the matter of sexuality and sexual health of the individual or group of individuals. 2) the welfare mission to protect sexual rights and access to health care and knowledge regarding issues of sexuality on equal terms for the population and 3) potential differences in the attention paid by clinical social workers in adressing sexuality and sexual health as an issue. When studying these processes,  attention is given to demarcations concerning sexuality and sexual health as a private or public matter.

Kassim Mwanika

Dissertation topic: Commercial Sugarcane Farming and Rural Youth
 Livelihoods in Eastern Uganda

This study explores the implications of commercial
 sugarcane farming on rural youth livelihoods in Uganda. It is a case of capitalist development as a pro-poor, rural development venture. While envisaged a potential solution poverty in Uganda, there is there is limited evidence of whether and how commercial farming can impact on the poor groups. This study thus, particularly examines the sugarcane farming impact of sugarcane farming on rural youths who are not only the largest proportion of the population but also, categorically vulnerable. Preliminary findings show that the outcomes from sugarcane farming are both positive and negative but largely skewed to the relatively well-off categories.

Kerstin Tingberg

Dissertation topic:  (Un) equal social child care? A mix-method study of the importance of ethnicity during the social services' investigations of children's story of physical violence from a parent

This dissertation project aims to investigate ethnic disparities  in access to social service interventions to children in cases where the child has self-reported parents' physical abuse. The main focus of this dissertation is ethnicity, but with an openness to measurement of other interacting variables, e.g. socio-economic background, gender and age. In addition to the quantitative investigation of ethnic disparities, this dissertation project also includes a comparative discourse analysis of a sample of child welfare investigations concerning children who have self-reported physical abuse with the aim of investigating which discourses about child abuse emerge and whether the discourses are different for children with a foreign background in comparison with children with a Swedish background.

Kristin Blom

Dissertation topic: Sexual consent– interpretations, perceptions and
 communication among young adults in Sweden

The aim of this dissertation is to explore different angles of sexual consent, from the perspective of young adults, focusing on their narratives of sexual consent (or non-consent). How young adults interpret, comprehend and communicate sexual consent is of interest. The thesis is qualitative, and the methods used are interviews and diaries.

Lejla Mesinovic Klecina

Dissertation topic: A study of front-line practice in social child and youth care

The dissertation  concerns front-line practice in social child and youth care, where reports of concern for children and young people are received and handled.
I want to seek knowledge about how social workers, in the initial phase called preliminary assessments, go about identifying children and young people who are at risk and need support from society . The study has an ethnographic approach and is planned to be completed in the autumn of 2023.

Lina Wallberg

Dissertation project: Lifestories and the belief of possibilities to housing

This dissertation project   investigates personal experiences of transitions through homelessness from a longitudinal perspective and what was perceived to be decisive in these transitions.

The project also examines the perceived belief in possibilities to have a stable housing situation. Both beliefs from people with their own experience, as well as beliefs from staff working with people in homeless situations.

The project intends co-creative research where people with their own experience will be co-creators in the design of the study and analysis of the results.

Planned methods are qualitative interviews with people with their own experience as well as focus group interviews and possibly participatory observation of staff groups.

Lisa Wallin

Dissertation project: Emotions in the social services context: emotional management in case handling of abused women

This project aims to explore the emotion work carried out by the frontline social worker, focusing on the process of case handling of abused women. To thereby problematize how emotions might impact on the professionality of the individual social worker and their decision-making processes and how this can be understood through an intersectional perspective. The project will collect data using methods of ethnographically inspired observations, shadowing, and semi-structured interviews.

Lovisa Thunström

Dissertation topic: Opportunities for participation and inclusion for significant others in the psychiatric care

The purpose of the project is to examine and develop knowledge about significant others’ opportunities for participation and inclusion in psychiatric care in Sweden, as well as their access to support from both region and municipality.

Lowe Bergström

Dissertation topic: A qualitative study about the professional agency 
industry for social workers in a Swedish context

Almost every social service district in Sweden has been struggling with recruitment difficulties in recent decades. They have been forced to use agency workers as a temporary solution. Social workers who work as agency workers are employed by private companies, but act as care managers within the social services and the public sector. The solution has been costly and criticized for several reasons. The municipalities are trying to reduce their dependency on the agency industry and become self-sufficient. Hence, this solution along with the establishment and expansion of the agency industry cannot be understood as a politically planned development. The dissertation argues that the industry should be understood as a development driven by social workers – and made possible by the fact that social workers leave their employment within the social services for the agency industry. The dissertation project explores how social workers who work as agency workers, along with other representatives for the private agency industry, justify the existence of the industry and the presence of agency workers within the social services. The project also sets out to understand why social workers choose to work as agency workers, how they justify this decision and how their conditions differs from the social workers employed by the social services. 

Maimuna Abdullahi 

Dissertation topic: Experiences of ethnic discrimination in contact with the social services

The overall purpose of this dissertation project is to identify how ethnic discrimination in contact with the social service is experienced, understood, managed and prevented. With the help of intersectional perspectives, a part of the aim of my research project is to identify and analyse the ways in which ethnic discrimination and other grounds of discrimination overlap. This includes identifying and analyzing which specific processes and practices in contact with the social services shape experiences of ethnic discrimination; the action strategies clients develop; and to identify and analyse how discrimination is understood and handled by social workers within the social services.

Matilda Karlsson

Dissertation topic: Support for youth leaving societal care

This thesis project aims to examine development, implementation and delivery of supporting services for youth transitioning from societal care to independent lives across different societal sectors.

Moa Irekvist

Dissertation topic: Parents across borders

The focus of this dissertation project is unaccompanied children and their transnational relationship with their parents. The aim of the thesis is to illustrate the relationship between unaccompanied children and their parents, how the parents practice their parenting and how the Swedish social services consider the specific circumstances of these families in their work.

Mostafa Hosseini

Dissertation topic: What is successful integration– Refugee Women's own experiences of integration and releasement process

45% of refugees in Europe are women. Research concerning migration and integration has not excluded women but is largely based on the perspectives of men. There is a need for increased knowledge about the integration of refugee women. The aim of Mostafa Hosseini’s project is to explore the refugee women's own experiences and “voices” of the integration process in Sweden

Nicholas Mugabi

Dissertation topic: Rural Livelihoods and Mobile Agricultural 
Extension Services: The Experience of Smallholder Farmers in Central Uganda

In Uganda, agriculture is the main source of livelihood with predominantly marginal farming clustered around few plantations, and majority of the people practice subsistence farming. To enhance and strengthen agricultural production, the government of Uganda and her development partners embarked on agricultural innovations and research, and extension service delivery using mobile technology tools and platforms. Evidence from previous studies however, fall short of the current realities of households’ socio-economic conditions, livelihood activities, motivational factors for utilisation of mobile extension services and associated livelihood outcomes. Thus, this dissertation examines the experiences of SHFs while applying mobile extension (m-Agric) services to improve on livelihoods in Central Uganda. The dissertation adopts a mixed-methods research design, the capability approach and actor-oriented perspectives as analytical tools, and Sustainability Livelihood Approach as a schema to organise my thesis.

Sara Larsson


Dissertation topic: Paid informal care within municipal eldercare

This dissertation concerns paid informal care within Swedish eldercare. Here, paid informal care refers to instances when informal caregivers, directly or indirectly, receives financial compensation from delivering publicly funded homecare services to an older adult. The dissertation is compilation thesis that in more general terms examines the prevalence, construction and consequences of paid informal care within publicly funded eldercare in Swedish municipalities. To begin with, this includes quantitative investigation of the prevalence, change and variation of paid informal care in municipalities between 2006-2016. 
In addition, and through an qualitative case study, the municipal constructions of paid informal care and its consequences for older people and their paid informal caregivers is examined.

Siri Lindqvist

Dissertation topic: LGBTQ+ identity development in an online setting and effects of gatekeeping phenomenon

This doctoral thesis is aimed towards creating a knowledge base in the unexplored area of young people identifying as LGBTQ+ and their exploring of sexual and gender identity online. Research is struggling to keep up with the online activity of today's youth where studies show that sexual minorities sometimes only ever live their social and romantic lives in online communities. This project wants to explore the strengths and protective factors online interactions and community have for LGBTQ+ youth as well as the risks associated with sexual identity seeking online where research shows that the LGBTQ+ population is especially vulnerable. These include sexual risk taking, minority stress and negative health outcomes from gatekeeping phenomena where conflict appears between the more established LGBT population and newer identity labels, primarily queer and trans identified - excluded from the majority population as well as excluded from a minority community.

The project has a multi-method internet-based design. Qualitative interviews through media of choice based on participant observation and a cross-platform approach including user profile analysis. Additionally, we aim to improve methods in measuring health in relation to exploring sexuality on the internet for clinicians within social work, e.g., youth guidance centers (Ungdomsmottagningar). The theoretical framework has a social constructionist perspective with several possible entries. The thesis will be written in English, but results will also be accessible in Swedish for professionals within sexual health and social work.

Tobias Jansson

Dissertation topic: Governing the opportunity to stay: a contemporary historical study of the Swedish state's governing of migrants' access to permanent residence

This dissertation examines the Swedish state’s governing of migrants' opportunity for permanent residence in Sweden, from a contemporary historical perspective. The project aims to understand the relationship between migration practices during the 1900s and 2010s, in terms of permanent residence, and with which discourses, material conditions and procedures that these were made possible, legitimized and (re)produced. The study also aims to demonstrate how the state governing practices have delineated which categories of migrants have been able to stay permanently in Sweden, and how these practices have created unequal conditions for different groups' access to social and human rights.

Tua Hassling

Dissertation topic: Disclosure of domestic violence and child abuse - 
talking to children and adolescents about their experiences of violence 

The aim of this dissertation is to explore how children and adolescents experience conversations with professionals about violence in the family. The aim is also to explore how professionals at Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinics are managing disclosure of violence in the family when they meet children, adolescents and their parents or other caregivers.  

Viveka Nordh

Dissertation topic: Universal design, diversity and co-creation

The aim of the study is to shed light on the potential of co-creation in universal design, in the context of urban development. The purpose is to contribute to the understanding of how both social and built environment is shaped by conceptual prejudice. The universal design approach to diversity will be in focus.

Åsa Borgström

Dissertation topic: Young people with intellectual disability:
 self-presentations online/offline and internet-related support

The aim of this PhD-project is to investigate 
young people with intellectual disability and their activities online, but also what happens in the intersection between online and offline.  More specific what characterizes their self-presentations on social media, for example what they choose to present and not present. Further, the aim is to study what meaning, function and consequence social media have in their identity formation. How young people with intellectual disability in interaction with others create identity and if it is possible to identify “alternative identities”. The project also investigates experiences of Internet-related support. The theoretical framework involves theories about modernity, youth and interactionism. Etnographic/netnographic method is used for thick descriptions and contextualizations of the processes of network usage among young people. 


Meet doctoral student Ida!

What is it like to study at the doctoral level? Meet Ida, a student in the Phd program, who shares her research career journey!

Doctoral Student Ida on the PhD Program in Social Work

Ida Kjellberg is a PhD student.
Ida Kjellberg, PhD student researching housing provision at the Department of Social Work.
Photo: Louise Älgne