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  • 1.
    Ahlberg [Alsarve], Jenny
    Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
    Efter kärnfamiljen: familjepraktiker efter skilsmässa2008Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This dissertation is about post-divorce families. The central question is how family is constructed after divorce. The aim is to study how family relationships are negotiated, transformed and reproduced after the separation. The research is based on 24 in-depth interviews with twelve young adults, between the ages of 21 and 29, with divorced parents. Their narratives about their families are analysed using a theoretical framework inspired by the individualization theories (Beck & Beck-Gernsheim 2001; Giddens 1997, 1995) and the doing family perspective (Morgan 1996; Silva & Smart 1999a), especially focusing on the concepts of negotiation and family practices. More specific questions raised in the dissertation are how are family boundaries drawn by the young adults? How do the interviewees understand the new organization of their families, which has been renegotiated after the separation? What perception of motherhood and fatherhood can be found in the narratives? And, finally, to what extent are family relationships after divorce negotiated in the way that the individualization theories claim?

    The results show a quite complex picture of family life after divorce. While both parents are often described as participating parents, the family practices after divorce appear clearly gendered. The mother’s involvement in taking care of the child seems not to be negotiable in the same way as the father’s. Hence, motherhood appears natural and taken for granted to a much greater extent than fatherhood. The negotiations between the parents after divorce can be of both an explicit and implicit character according to the narratives, but yet another kind of negotiation are the indirect negotiations. In these negotiations, the child is used as a go-between or carrier, a position that seems to limit their own possibility to participate in the decision making. Another aspect that seems to diminish children’s participation is the principle of loyalty to both their biological parents. The results also show that the children’s living arrangements after divorce are characterized by changes and renegotiations rather than being permanent. The parents’ new partners are described in different ways in the narratives, however, they are often seen as turning points that have a major influence on the family relationships. The nuclear family as a normative ideal is present in all the interviews but in different ways. While some express an explicit critique of it, others regard it as something that they want for themselves in the future. What constitutes a family according to the narratives? Firstly, blood ties and formal relationships are pointed out. Secondly, the feeling of solidarity and closeness is viewed perhaps as the most evident element of family life. This feeling can be created by open communication as well as by spending time together on a regular basis. Thirdly, growing up together and/or sharing everyday life practices are also considered as vital to develop and maintain close family ties. This means that the family boundaries after divorce are renegotiated over time rather than permanent. These negotiations take place in a certain context, where gender norms, earlier experiences and other social relationships play an important role.

  • 2.
    Baianstovu, Rúna Í
    Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work.
    Mångfald som demokratins utmaning: en studie av hur socialtjänsten som välfärdsbyråkrati och moralisk samhällsinstitutiion förstår och hanterar kulturell mångfald2012Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This dissertation deals with how Swedish society is confronting the democratic challenge of finding ways to integrate individuals and groups with a diversity of cultural and religious beliefs and social practices. The idea that democracy must include all members of society is central in contemporary welfare states. In Sweden this idea is closely related to a concept of social justice and equality. This means that this study deals with aspects of integration processes. Social services are one of the societal institutions that institutionalize the moral conceptions of how life should be lived. Therefore, its function in the integration processes mirrors the ethos of society as a whole. The chief characteristics of a democratic state are that it represents every member of society and that it is transparent, communicative, and reflexive. But this is not easily performed. The State may exercise oppression in the form of forced assimilation through the culturally detached design of law and policy, and with the politics of diversity, minority groups may exert internal oppression of vulnerable elements within the group. This tension expresses a tension that is called the Paradox of Democracy in this thesis. Social workers deal with the paradox while handling society’s moral panic regarding “others’” traditions that are perceived as difficult to comprehend. Therefore, their investigative work is of great importance in a society that aspires to treat all citizens as equals. But the framework for such investigations is narrow and tightly controlled. A qualitative change in the scope of social workers’ ability to work in the service of communicative action within the complex areas discussed in this study could be a step towards broadening and deepening democratic practices. When the public institutions take their clients’ diverse wishes and needs seriously, and treat them as indicators of the actual needs of members of society, the public institutions receive a foundation for reciprocal and communicatively anchored integration work.

  • 3.
    Jezierska, Katarzyna
    Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
    Radical democracy redux: politics and subjectivity beyond Habermas and Mouffe2011Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This thesis investigates two contemporary theories of radical democracy, Jürgen Habermas’s deliberative and Chantal Mouffe’s agonistic democracy. By bringing the two scholars together and constructing a debate between them, their respective strengths and weaknesses are highlighted and the similarities and differences are pointed out. Habermas and Mouffe are seldom dealt with simultaneously as they represent different theoretical traditions, critical theory and post-structuralism respectively. This thesis argues that we can learn from both of them.

    The aim of the thesis is to clarify and critically assess Chantal Mouffe’s and Jürgen Habermas’s versions of radical democracy, their disparate visions of democratic politics and subjectivity, in order to clear the ground for a third position that draws inspiration from both of them. The methodological inspiration comes from the deconstructive approach to interpretation, and thus the study aspires to a ‘just reading’ while being conscious of the elements of violence inherent to any instances of reading.

    The main bulk of the thesis is dedicated to an analysis of the two authors’ theories of democracy and subjectivity, which leads on to the third position situated beyond the two. From Habermas I take the stress on political communication and intersubjectivity, while both these concepts are extensively reformulated. The elements I reject from his position are the orientation to consensus and the strong requirements of coherence and transparency of the subject. From Mouffe I take the accent on the agonistic spirit of democracy, while setting aside the ontological status of antagonism. Her conception of split subjectivity is included, but supplemented with a more explicit theorization of the unity of the subject in the element of intersubjective meetings. The third position on radical democracy embraces the fundamental status of undecidability, which calls for an ethos of questioning.

  • 4.
    Nilsson, Johan
    Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
    Hollywood subversion: American film satire in the 1990s2011Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
  • 5.
    Östman, Johan
    Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
    Journalism at the borders: the constitution of nationalist closure in news decoding2009Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This dissertation is a contribution to the social analysis of nationalism. Its disciplinary context comprises the field of empirical studies that explore how forms of mediated quasi interaction can function in processes of reproduction and transformation of nationality. The study poses the question of how news journalism can establish national frames of reference within which social reality is made meaningful by citizens.

    The research design facilitates a novel contribution to a field of research that is largely dominated by analyses of media output. Two distinct but intertwined domains are empirically studied: news as a form of discourse and the moment of news decoding as a form of social interaction between readers and texts.

    The results from the empirical studies show that phenomena deemed undesirable by the prevailing moral order tend to be symbolically expelled from the national community that news audiences recognize as their own. As a conclusion, two sets of structures and mechanisms are identified as generative of this logic. Their joint articulation in news decoding can establish nationalist closure of meaning by connecting morality to nationality.

    First, certain established interpretive repertoires can be brought into play in the moment of decoding. These function ideationally to depict other nations and ethnic minorities pejoratively. Thus they indirectly give meaningful content to the nation and its majority population. The invocation of such frameworks of meaning tends to employ discursive resources from the news domain itself. This is a feature that ultimately reveals the subordination of news reception to elite news journalism as a knowledgeable institution.

    Second, as a textual system, news discourse can function interpersonally to establish a configuration of identities and relations between itself, the news consumer and other institutions and actors in society. In accordance with this configuration, the audience can incorporate the position of being citizens (in a moral sense) and national members (in a geopolitical or an ethnic sense). The character of these identities and relations is an effect of news journalism being an inherently national institution, and of the normative presuppositions built into the structure of news values itself.

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