Sabina Pultz defends her PhD thesis at the Department of Psychology – University of Copenhagen

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Sabina Pultz defends her PhD thesis at the Department of Psychology


Sabina Pultz


It's not you, it's me: Governing the unemployed self in the Danish welfare state". The Thesis will be available for reading at the Library of Social Science, Gothersgade 140, 1353 Copenhagen K.

Time and venue

Monday 8th May 2017 at 13:00. University of Copenhagen, Department of Psychology, Øster Farimagsgade 5, 1353 Copenhagen K, room 7.0.34. Kindly note that the defense will start precisely at the  announced time. 

Assessment Committee

  • Associate Professor Torben Bechmann-Jensen, Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen (chairman)
  • Professor Ole Steen Kristensen, Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences, Aarhus University
  • Associate Professor Roger Persson, Department of Psychology, Lund University, Sweden.


The dissertation explores how young unemployed people are governed and govern themselves in the Danish welfare state. On the basis of a social psychological analysis of interviews, field observation and a national survey I document how unemployment is increasingly psychologized and privatized. Through analysis of existing technologies applied in the system I show how the ways young unemployed people are governed affect their subjective experiences. They have to deal with partly constricting demands; on the one hand they are not allowed to be occupied very much because they must available for the labour market, but on the other hand they have to do a lot (perhaps even too much); they have to be pro-active, outgoing and extroverted in order to become competent players in the so-called ‘hidden labour market’ organized through networking. In networking, professional and objective competencies fall to the background and personality and social skills have increasingly come to the fore. That exposes a number of vulnerabilities when rejections are not only founded on professional grounds, but also, to some extent, on personal ones. The dissertation identifies a group of formally unemployed people who perceive themselves as freelancers and it examines how this practice is conditioned and made possible in the Danish welfare state.