PhD Student in Information Society

The Department of Computer and Systems Sciences (DSV) is one of the oldest IT departments in Sweden and one of the largest departments at Stockholm University with around 6 000 students. The discipline of computer and systems sciences bridges the gap between technology and the humanities, social sciences, and behavioral sciences. The use and design of IT is put in context in relation to people, organizations, and society. DSV offers a stimulating research environment in an international setting.

Project description 
This doctoral position in Information Society, within research area of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), is focused on ethnographic research regarding technologies used for economic and social exchange.

Online platforms are increasingly used to organize economic and social exchanges. These exchange platforms – systems often labelled under contentious notions such as ‘sharing economy’ and ‘gig work’ – support the peer-to-peer exchange of labor, resources, or goods, primarily amongst the unacquainted. Yet, rather than simply providing new opportunities and creating value from excess capacity for those involved, these platforms can disrupt labor markets and existing patterns of ownership, and in so doing, create new inequalities that shift risk to the vulnerable.

This PhD will focus on critically investigating the social practices, theoretical underpinnings, and the design of digital tools for social and economic exchange. We are looking for a student with a background in the social sciences and/or with experience in ethnographic fieldwork, including observations, video data, interviews, and participant observation. The ability to combine these with analysis of online records, such as online listings, profiles and other trace data, is desirable. The project will involve using these methods to address research questions about platforms as infrastructure as well as studying the experiential aspects of social and economic encounters. Depending on the interests of the successful candidate, the project can also involve exploring the design and building of alternative – potentially more equitable and participatory – systems for managing and facilitating exchange.

The research for the PhD will be interdisciplinary in nature and it will leverage the growing links between Human–Computer Interaction (HCI) and relevant social sciences, in terms of both methodology and theoretical framings. This project is situated in a multidisciplinary HCI research group with extensive international collaborations. We will support the student in establishing relevant academic connections not only locally in Sweden but also, for example, through participation in the From Sharing to Caring: Examining Socio-Technical Aspects of the Collaborative Economy network that has members from more than thirty countries.

Qualification requirements
In order to meet the general entry requirements, the applicant must have completed a second-cycle degree, completed courses equivalent to at least 240 higher education credits, of which 60 credits must be in the second cycle, or have otherwise acquired equivalent knowledge in Sweden or elsewhere.

In order to meet the specific entry requirements, the applicant must have completed courses at second-cycle level in Computer and Systems Sciences, Humanities, Behavioral Sciences, Sociology, Management, Communication, or within other for this program relevant subject with a minimum of 60 higher education credits, including a thesis with a minimum of 15 higher education credits. In addition, the applicant is required to have English language skills equivalent of Common European Framework of Reference for Languages Level B2.
Both general and specific academic entry requirements must be met.

The qualification requirements must be met by the deadline for applications.

The selection among the eligible candidates will be based on their capacity to benefit from the training. The following criteria will be used to assess this capacity:

  • Independence in the analysis and organization of the earlier work
  • Problem formulation and rigor in previous work and in the research plan
  • Previously shown ability to keep the specified time limits
  • Methodological and scientific maturity
  • Communication and cooperation skills
  • Subject specific knowledge relevant to education.

Admission Regulations for Doctoral Studies at Stockholm University are available at: and regulations.

Terms of employment
Only a person who will be or has already been admitted to a third-cycle programme may be appointed to a doctoral studentship.

The term of the initial contract may not exceed one year. The employment may be extended for a maximum of two years at a time. However, the total period of employment may not exceed the equivalent of four years of full-time study.

Doctoral students should primarily devote themselves to their own education, but may engage in teaching, research, and administration corresponding to a maximum of 20 % of a full-time position.

Please note that admission decisions cannot be appealed.

Stockholm University strives to be a workplace free from discrimination and with equal opportunities for all.

For more information, please contact Professor Barry Brown,, Associate Senior Lecturer Airi Lampinen,, or the Director of PhD studies, Sirkku Männikkö-Barbutiu, representatives
Ingrid Lander (Saco-S), telephone: +46 708 16 26 64,, Lisbeth Häggberg (Fackförbundet ST/Lärarförbundet), telephone: +46 8 16 40 17, (SEKO), and PhD student representative,

Apply for the PhD student position at Stockholm University’s recruitment system. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline.

Please include the following information with your application

  • Your contact details and personal data
  • Your highest degree
  • Your language skills
  • Contact details for 2–3 references

and, in addition, please include the following documents

  • Cover letter
  • CV – degrees and other completed courses, work experience and a list of degree projects/theses
  • Project proposal/Research proposal (no more than 3 pages) describing:
    – why you are interested in the field/project described in the advertisement 
    – why and how you wish to complete the project 
    – what makes you suitable for the project in question
  • Degree certificates and grades confirming that you meet the general and specific entry requirements (no more than 6 files)
  • Letters of recommendation (no more than 3 files)
  • Degree projects/theses (no more than 3 files).

The instructions for applicants are available at: Instructions – Applicants.

You are welcome to apply!

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