Daniel Lövgren, PhD student in media and communication.
I'm from Värmland, Sweden. I have studied media and communication as a major since my bachelors degree, and for the thesis I analyzed media coverage in Sweden, Russia, and the US of the war in Georgia 2008. Since then strategic communication and digital media has been my focus. I have also studied Spanish for one year at the university, and half a semester of Polish. Beside that I have also studied Eurythmics and the history of pop music.
How / why did you become a PhD student?
During my studies I actually never thought I would be pursuing a PhD. I saw other peers and friends more suited. However, my interest in research grew during the final year of my masters. I had a good supervisor, and the topic I was writing about was very interesting. So, the idea of becoming a researcher emerged quite late.
What is your research about?
My dissertation tackles problems and issues of organizations and communication. In organizations, and among communication practitioners and consultants, we often encounter an instrumental view of communication. This results in widespread ideas and ideals where notions of control and management are central to how communication is approached. Planning and outcomes of communication are then intentional. In my research I point to issues of such perspectives, and turn attention to how communication management is closely associated to pressures and expectations of the social environment. To do this I focus on the role of social media in a strategic communication context. The empirical arena is the Swedish higher education sector, in which I have performed field studies where I observed, interviewed, and gathered documents on communication and social media.
How does it feel to research specifically at Uppsala University?
It takes time to get to know a place. Uppsala university has been my home since 2012, and I think that I have gotten to know it quite well. Uppsala university is an established institution with a fine tradition of research. However, it is hard to compare universities and research environments. Even within the university - at the different departments - I would say that you can learn different things. Some places are better on certain aspects, and others do well in others when it comes to learning the craft of research and teaching.
I spent the autumn 2015 at CBS in Copenhagen, and it was a great experience. Here at Uppsala I actually have several "homes" - both at the department of Informatics and Media, and the Business Department. I am also a member of the doctoral research school Management and IT (which includes students and senior researchers from 12 Swedish universities). I think it is important to have the opportunity to look around, and to be curious - and Uppsala makes that possible. And that is why I really like being a PhD student here.
What was your most enjoyable work experience so far?
As a PhD student I must say the most enjoyable part has been conducting my field studies. I love meeting people, talking to them and asking questions, observing what they do in their work practices. I was now almost a year ago I finished my field studies, and I already miss being out there! Previously I worked at different places, but the job I remember most is working at retirement homes - they people living there might be old, but they also have a great sense of humor!
Any tips to other PhD candidates, students, future students?
This work is exciting. I can't imagine doing anything else at the moment. It took me some time to discover, but when I did I never regretted it. It can be very demanding and stressful, and from time to time you wonder if you really understand anything at all. But the concentrated work on a topic YOU choose, the freedom and flexibility, the travels, and the opportunity to meet exciting people from all over the world …it is great!