De mest lämpade – en studie av doktoranders habituering på det vetenskapliga fältet

Detta är en avhandling från University of Gothenburg

Sammanfattning: This thesis is about the university as a workplace. Essentially, it addresses postgraduate studies, doctoral students’ work conditions, and how these students are schooled to become researchers. The overarching purpose of the thesis is, based on Sweden’s 1998 reform of research education, to study the parameters of PhD students’ working lives, their schooling as budding researchers in various subject areas, and their ways of handling the formal rules and tacit expectations of academia in relation to their own resources and assets. The theoretical framework for the thesis is Bourdieu’s theory of capital and fields. The primary empirical basis is 15 interviews with PhD students in three subject areas, humanities, natural sciences and educational sciences, at the University of Gothenburg. The analysis shows that the parameters of PhD students’ work are characterised both by subject-specific doxa and by the formal rules associated with research education and the doctoral students’ form of employment. The subject areas have diverging outlooks and basic assumptions regarding the aims and purpose of research education. The thesis also shows that politically initiated reforms are being interpreted and reshaped in relation to the values sustained by the scientific field itself. This generates a tension between different logics that are not always mutually compatible. The good intentions of the reform, to clarify research education, have thus rather created further grey areas between official edicts and informal demands. The doctoral students who can navigate among them successfully and, at the same time, stage their researcher role in the desired way, are the ones who are invited into the scientific field. It is they who are seen as the fittest.