Learn more about the research projects of some of the PhD Candidates in Sociology

We present some of the fellows at the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Name: Virginija Popovaite​

Background: Virginija gained her education within fields of History (BA and MA at Vilnius University) and Social and Cultural Anthropology (MSc at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam). She tend to wander between disciplines during the studies and in her professional life, where she mostly worked with archaeology projects.

Research: Virginija's research is designed to be an exploration of maps during Search and Rescue (SAR) operations in Northern Norway. She aims to interrogate navigation practices that take place during missions with attention to how, where and when maps are used. Virginija's goal is to explore how maps are entangled with other actors, including more-than-human ones. She hopes to see the role of these entanglements in the process of SAR operations.

Virginija base her perspective on post-anthropocentric thought. She draws inspiration for methodological approach from Actor-Network Theory. Therefore, she is looking into various “construction sites“ of maps, including how they are modelled for SAR operations, what infrastructure is required for digital maps to work and how responders use them. The interest in more-than-human interactions under uncertainty stems from living in Iceland‘s highlands, where she occationally has observed SAR teams in action.

Name: Justyna Szynkiewicz​

Background: Justyna holds a MA in International Economic Relations,  MA in Social Policy, and BA in Management from the University of Bialystok in Poland. During her master studies she participated in ERASMUS exchange at the University of Cagliari in Italy. Her experience from working in private and non-governmental organizations has given her solid foundations for work in international, and interdisciplinary project settings. Currently, she is working for Norwegian Center for Excellent IT education​.

Research project: Justyna’s PhD work focuses on project-based learning practices in Computing Education. The study aims to understand the process of students’ professional identity development, students’ feeling of belonging to the computing discipline, and the role of product development in these processes. She is collecting qualitative data from two Norwegian Universities – Nord in Steinkjer and NTNU in Trondheim.​

Name: Astrid Moksnes Barbala

Background: Astri holds a Master’s Degree in Gender & Culture from Goldsmiths University, UK, and a Master’s Degree in Media Studies (Visual Culture) from NTNU. Her BA in Journalism was obtained from London South Bank University.

Research project: Astri’s research falls under the heading of digital sociology, and lie at the intersection of media studies, gender studies and STS. Her PhD project makes use of digital ethnographic methods and builds on Michel Foucault’s account of self-technologies as well as feminist affect theory to examine Scandinavian feminist activists’ Instagram practices in light of the 2017 #metoo campaign. ​

Name:Mathias Brynildsen Reinar​

Research project: Utopian possibilities: Sustainable development and Norwegian municipal planning. 

The master narrative of Norwegian planning is sustainable development – a fluid concept that needs interpretation and contextualisation in order to make sense. In the study he explores how this, and related ideas and policies, like the SDGs, travel into Norwegian planning practices and what they do once they are there.

Name:Alyssa Marie Kvalvaag

Research project: Alyssa is researching the integration of immigrants in Norway, with a particular focus on Nordland. In particular, she investigates how “integration” is represented in regional political documents, in local media, and in interviews with immigrants residing in the county. The aim of the project to is develop a greater understanding of how the integration of immigrants is represented in district Norway present day.

Name: Bishnu Maya Adhikari

Research project: Non-western Immigrant women’s Access to Norwegian skilled Labor Market

Bishnu's PhD project is an empirical study of Highly educated Non-western Immigrant women’s experience and perception of finding a skilled work in Norway. This work with in-depth interviews draws on different social theories namely identity, intersectionality and the postcolonial feminist theories.

Name: Cordula Karich​

Research project: Cordula's PhD-project is a biographical study that aims at illustrating the variety of kinship practices that lesbians and their siblings in Norway engage in, at describing the influence of certain life events on these practices, and at identifying the criteria siblings use to evaluate the character of their siblings relationships.

Name: Elizabeth Jean Solverson

Research prosject: The PhD project will focus on young adults’ behaviours when consuming and interpreting social and political information online. The methods will include focus on group interviews, respondent diaries, and individual photo-elicitation interviews. The theoretical framework will be informed, in part, by Habermas’ Public Sphere and Baudrillard’s Hyperreality​.

Name:Lucy Atieno Oloo

Research project: "Breaking Barriers For Mobility in The State Assisted Integration Policy in Norway".

Lucy's PhD research project examines how service providers and refugee participants experience the strategies in the introduction program, with a focus on the program’s goal of providing equal educational opportunities and labour market experiences. The goal of the project is to gather significant qualitative data that captures and represents first-hand experiences, perceptions, and views of service providers and refugee participants in the program. The project aims at generating an understanding on how the introduction program is understood and enacted at the institutional level, and at the same time broaden our insights on the challenges experienced in designing, planning, implementation, and participation in the program.  ​

Name: Iselin Silja Kaspersen

Iselin holds a MA in Peace and Conflict Transformation from the University of Tromsø, and a BA in Public Health and Health Promotion from the University of Bergen. Prior to her studies, Iselin worked for the Norwegian Armed Forces as a forward observer.

Research project:
Iselin’s doctoral project is situated within military sociology. It looks at how Norwegian soldiers understand their role as soldiers within a military frequently utilized as a political tool through international operations. 

As part of her research, Iselin developed a soldier typology, showing different ways the term soldier can be understood:​

Alin Ake-Kob​

Background: Alin holds a Master degree by research in Science and Technology Studies from The University of Edinburgh. She also has two bachelor degrees from The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), one in Law, and one in Communication Sciences. She has previously worked as a senior adviser to politicians where she led policy analyses, as well as the design of communication strategies. She has also participated in U.S.-Mexico binational meetings as an aid to Mexican governors. Alin is currently Norway's representative in The European Cooperation in Science and Technology for the Management Committee of the network: Privacy-Aware Audio- and Video Based Applications for Active and Assisted Living.

Research project: Alin's PhD research aims to understand why do tensions arise when a technological device is implemented in the care services. The case study is a sensor-camera installed in nursing homes and private houses in Norway. Alin have resorted to The Biography of Artefacts and Practices methodological approach (BOAP) to answer the research question. The BOAP is a multi-methods strategy developed in Finland and the UK. It places emphasis on conducting multi-sited observations to understand technology under the premise that technology can only be understood in the practice, and practices can only be grasped by seeing what people do, instead of only hearing what they say they do. Therefore, Alin have conducted participant observation in a nursing home and in homecare services in the three working shifts: day, afternoon and night.


Name: Anna Adlwarth

Background: Anna has a Master in Applied Linguistics from the University of Vienna and a Master in Gender Studies from the University of Graz/Austria. She has also worked as project employee and lecturer at the Centre for Gender Studies at the University of Klagenfurt/Austria in the areas of gender mainstreaming, women studies and women sport studies.

Research project: Anna's project is criticizing sex categorization in elite sporting competition, and the idea of differing female and male performance abilities that comes along with this categorization. Her work is based on the observation that the idea of ‘all women being worse in all sports than all men’ is factual untrue but nevertheless constitutes a strong social belief. This social belief perpetuates and reifies itself with the instalment of sex segregation and different competition formats for the two genders. Like this, sex segregation in elite sport can be seen as a social experiment that brings forth materialities such as sexed bodies. In her thesis, Anna sheds light on this mechanism by examining on the one hand how the integration of gender-non-conforming athletes in elite sport is carried out. On the other hand examining how the suppression of cis-women athlete’s performance abilities is normalized.

Kirill Gurvich

Background: Kirill is originally from Northern Russia, but his academic background is very diverse. He has got the classical sociological education at Northern (Arctic) Federal University (Archangelsk, Russia). Then he studied Circumpolar studies at Nord University, Team-Management at Tromsø Business School and Aboriginal geography at the University of Northern British Columbia (Prince George, Canada). 

Research project: Kirill is very interested in the migration processes in the Arctic. In 2011 due to the wars and armed conflicts in Syria, more than eleven million people left their home countries in order to seek protection and security. This dramatic migration process got the title “Global refugee crisis” due to the difficulty of meeting the refugees’ needs by the recipient countries. The Circumpolar region became one of the most significant places of the refugees’ resettlement. Specifically, Kirill is studying the refugees’ integration in the Circumpolar region, comparing Northern Norway and Northern Canada.

Lydia Mehrara

Background: Global Health at the University of Toronto. European Master in Social Work with Families and Children from​ University of Stavanger, University of Gothenburg and University Institute of Lisbon. 

Research project: Lydia's doctoral project examines the extent to which universal provisions meet the needs of diverse groups by looking at the delivery of reproductive health services across Norway. Lydia is interested in exploring the intersections between health equity, social policy, migration and ethnicity.

Mikhail Kosmynin​

Background: Mikhail holds a Master in Social Science and BSc from Nord University. He​ was a visiting graduate student at the University of Northern British Columbia in Canada as part of the master's programme. Additionally, Mikhail holds a specialist degree in Intercultural Communication & Translation from Murmansk Humanities Institute. He also completed a program in Regional Economics at the International Institute of Business Education. Mikhail also gained knowledge and practical experience working in internationalization, higher education, the tourism and sports industry for five years in Norway and Russia.

Research project: ‘Doing good by playing well with others: social entrepreneurial practices for collaboration with the local public sector organizations in the Norwegian context’

Mikhail’s project revolves around collaboration between social entrepreneurial ventures operating in the health and social service domain and local public sector organizations in Norway and is positioned in the literature that conceptualize (social) entrepreneurship as an unfolding process — ‘social entrepreneuring’ — the collective enactment that emerges in and through the nexus of practices. By drawing on the Entrepreneurship as Practice (EaP) and sociology of entrepreneurship, the study particularly addresses the social entrepreneurial practices to enact collaboration with municipalities. Employing ethnographic case studies of two social entrepreneurial ventures from Norway, the project sets out to explore how social entrepreneurs enact resources through collaboration, how collaboration is (re)negotiated and unfolds, and demonstrate how the shaping and enacting of those practices is influenced by the contextual issues. Focusing on the everyday activity of social entrepreneuring is a way to revise our understanding of specific entrepreneurial activities, in particular, resource acquisition through collaboration, and be closer to the real life world of the social entrepreneurs. This doctoral dissertation moves a step in this direction.

Supervisory team: Elisabet Carine Ljunggren, Professor, Nord University, Sarah Jack,  Jacob and Marcus Professor of Innovative and Sustainable Business Development, the Stockholm School of Economics​​