PhD defence: Magnus Paulsen Hansen

In order to obtain the PhD degree, Magnus Paulsen Hansen has submitted his thesis entitled: Trying the unemployed - Justification and critique, emancipation and coercion towards the ‘active society’.

Monday, March 6, 2017 - 14:00 to 16:00

The thesis investigates the transformation towards the ‘active society’ by investigating how the governing of unemployment is justified and criticized in contemporary reforms in France and Denmark. The thesis shows how the governing is the result of an ongoing sedimentation of a plurality of ideas tied together in compromises making it inherently composite and unstable. The thesis shows how the tensions between the ideas that are mobilised for justificatory purposes are mitigated in categorisations and various institutionalised tests that continuously evaluate the behaviour of the unemployed. The tests, such as triage, screening, interviews and contracts, thus question and settle what kind of subject the unemployed person is, i.e., what city he lives in, how worthy he is, and what instruments will bring him closer to emancipation (i.e., the ‘active society’). A similar experimentalist dynamic is identifiable in the public debates concerning justification and critique. Here unemployment is increasingly seen as a multi-causal phenomenon that, in the end, is a matter of how to make the unemployed act in certain ways. The result is a constant uncertainty as to how to attach particular causes to particular categories of unemployment as well as an insatiable demand for “personalising” the governing, with increasingly intimate and often coercive instruments, in order to make the unemployed respond to it.

Primary Supervisor:
Professor Ove Kaj Pedersen
Department of Business and Politics
Copenhagen Business School
Secondary Supervisor:
Professor Peter Triantafillou

Assessment Committee:
Associate Professor Caroline de la Porte
Department of Business and Politics

Lecturer in Sociology Tom Boland
Waterford Institute of Technology
School of Humanities - Applied Arts

Professor Kerstin Jacobsson
Department of Sociology & Work Science
University of Gothenburg

The thesis is available here
The Doctoral School of Organisation and Management Studies will host a reception, which will take place immediately after the defence at the reception area outside the defence room at Steen Blichers Vej 22.

The page was last edited by: Communications // 06/12/2018