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Forskares socialisation: Kunskapssociologisk visit i doktoranders livsvärldar
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Sociology.
2004 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis is an exploration into the socialization of researchers as it takes place in various research practices. Using a lifeworld-perspective, a qualitative interview-study with doctoral students from different academic milieus is conducted. The organizational context of the study is the academic department as it is experienced, apprehended and constructed by the doctoral student.

The “societal” context is described and discussed in a brief analytical exposé of Swedish science policy in the last decade of the twentieth century. Questioning the political reliance on a systems-perspective, and the shortcomings of system theory for the understanding of research practices in different academic milieus, a lifeworld-theoretical turn is suggested.

A lifeworld-perspective is formulated in a meta-theoretical discussion focusing on the concepts of practice, time and language. Jürgen Habermas’ critique of phenomenological lifeworld-perspectives is the point of departure and theoretical inputs are derived from the sociology of knowledge, the sociology of scientific knowledge and phenomenological sociology. The solution is found in an integrative model of socialization as continual synchronization of subjective systems of coordinates and socio-cultural networks. Mediating between subjective consciousness and inter-subjective knowledge is language, and this is manifested in concrete practices observed in “real-time”.

The empirical study reveals some influences of the system on the lifeworld. “Inside” the lifeworld, however, the interviewees mostly use their departments as frames of reference in their descriptions and discussions. A more elaborate exploration of the life-world results in an understanding of socialization in terms of positioning. This concept denotes the ways in which the interviewees describe themselves, their socio-cultural surroundings and themselves in relation to these milieus. At any given moment, positioning can be understood as a “co-construction” of subjective position and socio-cultural milieu. Positioning is thereby the empirical correlate to synchronization, and socialization can be “read off” from the ways in which doctoral students position themselves “here and now”. Problematic, though, is that “doctoral student”, and especially “female doctoral student”, are found to be vague and vulnerable categories with no clear meanings for the socialised nor for the socio-cultural environment. In a more speculative manner, these difficulties of positioning are put in relation to “scientist” as a vague category. If “scientist” cannot be defined, how then can we know what “scientists in the making” are?

This thesis offers an insight into the plural “realities” of doctoral students in different academic milieus. It offers a lifeworld-perspective on socialization and is thereby relevant for discussions of post-graduate education among scholars as well as among policy makers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. , 236 p.
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Sociologiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 1104-2508 ; 34
Keyword [en]
Sociology, socialization, lifeworld, scientific practice, sociology of science, sociology of knowledge, sociology of scientific knowledge
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-191ISBN: 91-7305-570-0OAI: diva2:142389
Public defence
2004-03-12, Hörsal E, Humanisthuset, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:15
Available from: 2004-02-05 Created: 2004-02-05Bibliographically approved

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