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  • Public defence: 2023-12-08 09:00 Sal Fullriggaren, Kalmar
    Bensch, Hanna
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Social below ground: Life-history and gut microbiome of Damaraland mole-rats2023Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Studying the consequences of variation in individual life-histories is vital for our understanding of the evolution of animal societies. In this thesis, I study the ecology and consequences of group living on growth, survival, reproduction, and the gut microbiome of the Damaraland mole-rat (Fukomys damarensis), a subterranean cooperatively breeding mammal. For this, I used data and faecal samples collected from a long-term study population in the Kalahari Desert, South Africa.

    I explored the effects of group size and group composition on individuals’ growth and survival. While large group size had no clear advantages for either growth or survival, individuals within groups biased to their own sex grew more slowly. The number of recruits increased modestly with group size, but experimentally created pairs showed the same reproductive success as established groups. Further, single individuals exhibited high survival rates and good body condition. Combined, these results suggest that mole-rats delay dispersal to maximise their own fitness, and that group living has costs and benefits for all group members.

    I also investigated the effects of individual life-histories and group affiliation on the gut microbiome. This work shows that individuals bring the gut microbiome from their birth group when they disperse, and that group members have more similar gut microbiomes. When dispersed individuals start to reproduce in their new groups, they subsequently transfer this microbiome to their offspring, resulting in higher similarity between offspring with common descent of breeders. This pattern could arise from shared early life environment of breeders or through genetic relatedness of breeders. To separate the effects of these factors, I used a cross-foster experiment of captive animals, which showed that group members have more similar gut microbiomes, regardless of host relatedness.

    My thesis gives deepened insights into the ecology of the Damaraland mole-rat. It shows how variation in the social environment of group living species affects their life-histories, their fitness, and beyond that extended phenotypic traits such as the gut microbiome composition.

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  • Public defence: 2023-12-08 09:15 Weber, hus K, Växjö
    Nordstedt, Maria
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Konsten att göra (sprut)utbyten: Sprutbytets betydelse i skärningspunkten mellan politik, yrkespraktik och människors vardagsliv2023Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The Art of Needle Exchange: The Significance of Needle Exchange Programs at the Intersection of Politics, Professional Practice, and People's Everyday Lives

    This doctoral thesis discusses how social meanings are constructed in needle exchange programs. For nearly four decades, Sweden has implemented needle exchange programs to prevent the spread of bloodborne viral infections. However, a restrictive drug policy and resistance to harm reduction efforts have led to limitations in access to these programs, both in terms of geography and through an exclusionary regulatory framework. The effectiveness of needle exchange programs in reducing the risk of infection associated with injection-related behaviour is clearly positive. However, there are limited scientific studies on the more socially oriented meanings of needle exchange programs. 

    With needle exchange programs as a physical and social place, the overarching aim of this thesis is to understand how the creation of social meanings of needle exchanges is achieved through time, space, and social interaction, primarily between the program's visitors and its staff. 

    The empirical material primarily consists of 16 months of ethnographic fieldwork, including participant observations and informal conversations at two needle exchange programs in southern Sweden, as well as in the everyday lives of individuals who visit these programs. Through extensive ethnographic narratives and analyses based on theories of everyday life, resistance, time, and gifts, the thesis demonstrates that needle exchange programs hold multiple meanings created through interactions between visitors and staff. 

    Two concurrent and parallel tracks contribute to understanding what needle exchange programs mean to those who visit them. One track starts with a counterproductive regulatory framework where requirements and rules result in some visitors coming less often than they need to or not at all. The other track involves countless material and relational exchanges that foster positive experiences of the needle exchange program, turning it into a place of social hope and a changed future. 

    One of the thesis's most significant findings concerns the social work that takes place at the needle exchange program in the interactions between visitors and staff. These interactions also occur at the intersection of the norms and hierarchies of the drug world and the Swedish dream of a drug- free society. In the waiting room of the needle exchange program, negotiations are constantly underway to maintain it as a place of hopeful encounters, as opposed to a destructive refuge.

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  • Public defence: 2023-12-08 13:15 Weber, hus K, Växjö
    Rönn, Charlotta
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education and Teacher's Practice.
    Backstage pedagogy: Compulsory school pupils’ informal social strategies when dealing with formal individual writing assignments for assessment2023Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Over the last decades, formal schooling has changed towards an enhanced focus on theindividual pupil’s achievements. This comprises formative assessment such as visualizingpupils’ learning processes, as well as summative assessment in terms of increased numberand importance of National tests. However, little is known, from a pupils’ perspective,about how pupils together with classmates relate to the extensive focus on assessment ofthe individual’s achievements in formal education; what do today’s pupils, who havegrown up with digital technology and social media, say and do out of the teachers’supervision when dealing with individual assignments? In line with ethnographiceducational research, this thesis explores and analyses how educational structures areimposed upon subordinate groups. This thesis gives an account of, from a pupils’perspective, the pupils’ backstage pedagogy regarding formal schoolwork inside andoutside school.The applied analytical tool is Goffman’s (1990) theater metaphor of social life; in thisstudy, pupils’ interactions with peers out of the teachers’ supervision when doingschoolwork are regarded as carried out backstage, preparing an intended impression oftheir abilities and know-how to present to the assessing teacher. Based on observations, aninnovative and discreet staging of audio-visual recordings, and semi-structured interviewswith the pupils in one class at a Swedish municipal lower secondary school whereapproximately 50 % of the pupils had a foreign background, the results show that pupilsapplied a backstage pedagogy. Outside the teachers’ supervision and awareness, theyinformally interacted with classmates and used social strategies when dealing with formalindividual assignments. The pupils’ regard for grades was the linchpin of their activities;some pupils a) swapped computers with peers and wrote original texts for classmates, b)copied peers’ assignments, c) logged into classmates’ Google classroom accounts andwrote original texts for peers, and d) shared leaked National tests on the class’s Snapchatgroup. These actions led to dilemmas in the teachers’ assessing and grading of individualpupils as well as in implementing fair, impartial grading. In looking forward, the thesisdiscusses the phenomenon and impact of backstage spaces comprising parents, siblings,Artificial Intelligence and ChatGPT to improve grades. 

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  • Public defence: 2023-12-08 14:36 Homeros, Växjö
    Böök, Martina
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
    Traditionella nyheter: Kläder, ekonomi och politik i Virestad socken 1750-18502023Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    During the first half of the 20th century, ethnologists investigated rural parts of Sweden. They hoped to uncover traces of a truly ancient culture which they imagined had been preserved unchanged in so-called relic areas. This approach was rejected during the 1970s by a generation of researchers who proceeded from new cultural theoretical perspectives that assumed that culture was in constant change. As a result, the theories about relic areas were not further developed. This dissertation returns to the folk culture but with new perspectives on how to understand the old-fashioned clothing practice.

    This study investigates Virestad parish, part of a so-called relic area, from 1750 through 1850. By analyzing minutes from parish meetings, the parish letters to the king, articles of clothing, and estate inventories this dissertation presents new perspectives on connections between economic, social, and political development and cultural continuity and change. The most important source has been the estate inventories which provides a unique opportunity to follow the individuals’ clothing choices, from their choice of textiles to decisions regarding clothing economics.

    The investigation shows that the people of Virestad was not “behind the times”, they were clearly in phase with their contemporaries in politics and trade. Instead, the people actively chose to dress in an old-fashioned way. Most of them had not inherited the old-fashioned clothes that they wore but had them made. This study shows that modernity and tradition do not need to be each other's opposites but can develop in tandem, conditioning each other. Dressing in an old-fashioned manner served as a stabilizer that allowed for a more flexible economic, social, and political culture. Therefore, contrary to previous research, a central finding of the dissertation is that relic areas were innovative and modern, where older elements of tradition existed which gave the population security and stability.