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  • Public defence: 2018-09-28 13:00 Ny200, Ekonomihögskolan, Kalmar
    Karlsson, Mathias
    Linnaeus University, School of Business and Economics, Department of Organisation and Entrepreneurship.
    Infinitely Demanding Entrepreneurship2018Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In both the study and the practice of entrepreneurship, the phenomenon of entrepreneurship is recurrently put forward as a key, or even the key, to resolving many of today’s social, ecological, and economic challenges. However, research shows that entrepreneurs who pursue social change risk overlooking or excluding certain worldviews, values, and ways of living. This thesis examines how entrepreneurial practices can create responsible social change. The study draws on ethnographic work and explores a new initiative launched by the Swedish furniture company IKEA – IKEA’s Partnership with Social Entrepreneurs. The aim of the initiative is to start collaborations with social entrepreneurs around the world, and to support their social change work, particularly when it comes to empowering women. The thesis further sheds new light on ethical and political aspects of entrepreneurship by using the insights and concepts of philosopher Simon Critchley.       

    The thesis comes to four main conclusions. First, the study shows that the pursuit of social change requires that a variety of, sometimes contradictory, practices be performed. Second, the study shows that this particular change work and initiative have the positive and responsible outcome of generating a multiplicity of new autonomous spaces that enable the women involved to live more worthwhile lives. Third, the study shows that creating responsible social change is ‘infinitely demanding’ because responding responsibly to another person’s desires and strivings is tremendously challenging, and the number of people to which one can respond is similarly overwhelming. Fourth, the study shows that the complexity of creating responsible social change can be handled through the practices of a faithless faith (i.e., fidelity to a lived subjective commitment) and humour (i.e., the humorous acknowledgment and acceptance of one’s limits as a human being). 

    The major contribution of this thesis is that it enriches our understanding of how entrepreneurial practices can accomplish responsible social change. The main theoretical contribution and thrust of the thesis is then the concept of infinitely demanding entrepreneurship, a notion centred on the suggestion that this form of entrepreneurial practice is driven by committed, responsible, and ethically and politically attentive actors and thus might lead to the creation of responsible social change. Infinitely demanding entrepreneurship has at least five facets: (1) its main aim is to be for the other person and to acknowledge and respect her otherness; (2) there is an attentiveness to the limitations of the specific situation, which encourages people to keep pushing to do more; (3) a plurality of competing ethical and political demands are acknowledged and handled; (4) there is an awareness that a variety of practices have to be carried out and a multiplicity of objectives met, including economic, social, and environmental ones; and (5) the practices of a faithless faith and humour enable these actors to cope with the infinitely demanding situation of trying to create responsible social change.  

    Infinitely demanding entrepreneurship is an argument that breaks with research suggesting that practicing entrepreneurship is a rather easy means of solving societal issues. However, infinitely demanding entrepreneurship is also an argument that contradicts research that views entrepreneurship as the actual villain of today’s problems. Instead pointing out that entrepreneurial practices can create responsible social change, but that succeeding in this endeavour is ‘infinitely demanding’ for the involved and committed people who engage in such practices. 

  • Public defence: 2018-10-19 09:30 Kalmar
    Christel, Stephan
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Function and Adaptation of Acidophiles in Natural and Applied Communities2018Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Acidophiles are organisms that have evolved to grow optimally at high concentrations of protons. Members of this group are found in all three domains of life, although most of them belong to the Archaea and Bacteria. As their energy demand is often met chemolithotrophically by the oxidation of basic ions and molecules such as Fe2+, H2, and sulfur compounds, they are often found in environments marked by the natural or anthropogenic exposure of sulfide minerals. Nonetheless, organoheterotrophic growth is also common, especially at higher temperatures. Beside their remarkable resistance to proton attack, acidophiles are resistant to a multitude of other environmental factors, including toxic heavy metals, high temperatures, and oxidative stress. This allows them to thrive in environments with high metal concentrations and makes them ideal for application in so-called biomining technologies.

    The first study of this thesis investigated the iron-oxidizer Acidithiobacillus ferrivorans that is highly relevant for boreal biomining. Several unresolved nodes of its sulfur metabolism were elucidated with the help of RNA transcript sequencing analysis. A model was proposed for the oxidation of the inorganic sulfur compound tetrathionate. In a second paper, this species’ transcriptional response to growth at low temperature was explored and revealed that At. ferrivorans increases expression of only very few known cold-stress genes, underlining its strong adaptation to cold environments.

    Another set of studies focused on the environmentally friendly metal winning technology of bioleaching. One of the most important iron-oxidizers in many biomining operations is Leptospirillum ferriphilum. Despite its significance, only a draft genome sequence was available for its type strain.Therefore, in the third paper of this thesis we published a high quality, closed genome sequence of this strain for future use as a reference, revealing a previously unidentified nitrogen fixation system and improving annotation of genes relevant in biomining environments. In addition, RNA transcript and protein patterns during L. ferriphilum’s growth on ferrous iron and in bioleaching culture were used to identify key traits that aid its survival in extremely acidic, metal-rich environments. The biomining of copper from chalcopyrite is plagued by a slow dissolution rate, which can reportedly be circumvented by low redox potentials. As conventional redox control is impossible in heap leaching, paper four explored the possibility of using differentially efficient iron oxidizers to influence this parameter. The facultative heterotrophic Sulfobacillus thermosulfidooxidans was identified as maintaining a redox potential of ~550 mV vs Ag/AgCl, favorable for chalcopyrite dissolution,while L. ferriphilum caused the potential to raise far above this critical value. RNA transcript analysis was used to identify genomic features that may contribute to this behavior.

    Lastly, six fields in Northern Sweden were examined for the presence of acid sulfate soils in the fifth paper. The study revealed three acid sulfate soils. The presence of acidophiles that likely catalyze the production of acid in the soil was confirmed by community 16S gene amplicon analysis. One site that was flooded in a remediation attempt and is therefore anoxic still exhibited similar bacteria, however, these now likely grow via ferric iron reduction. This process consumes protons and could explain the observed rise in pH at this site.

    This thesis examines acidophiles in pure culture, as well as natural and designed communities. Key metabolic traits involved in the adaptation to their habitats were elucidated, and their application in mining operations was discussed. Special attention was paid to acidophiles in chalcopyrite bioleaching and in cold environments, including environmental acid sulfate soils in Northern Sweden.