The following is a guest post from Therese Ydremark, a PhD student at Ersta Sköndal University College, who will be volunteering during the upcoming conference.
What could be a better start for a PhD student focusing on civil society issues than attending ISTR’s International Conference? We are a group of PhD students at Ersta Sköndal University College that will do so by volunteering. We are all in the process of shaping our subjects and most probably the conference will be a great source of inspiration. So, besides receiving the attendees, preparing the venue etc, we also hope to meet with prominent scholars from all over the world, to get new insights into how to use the theoretical approaches not familiar enough yet and, of course, to get to know fellow PhD students.
And we are not the only ones looking forward to ISTR´s 12th International Conference. One of the previous blog posts gave an idea of the interest from parts of Swedish civil society. There is a strong tradition of extensive contacts between civil society organizations and the Swedish academia focusing on civil society issues. But now it´s time to let us all be inspired by the rest of the world!
I also started out as a `practitioner´ on my way into academia, curiosity has made me move between the two worlds. Always the same procedure; observing a phenomenon and then letting curiosity lead the way to further studies. Now, as a PhD student, what fascinates me is the development and expansion of the Swedish civil society as a consequence of a more heterogeneous society. Migration, of course, is one reason to the increased heterogeneity. My interest has now turned to the role of civil society organizations for political participation in the wake of migration.
When it comes to the conference there is one scholar of particular interest to me. Theda Skocpol was one of the scholars I first read as a student of political science and international relations and I found her theories on social revolutions fascinating. Later on, studying at the master´s level, there she was again, with a focus on institutions, democracy and civil society. And now, as a PhD student, I read her analysis of the American welfare state, as a contrast to the Swedish welfare state. Do I need to say that I´m thrilled she is one of the Keynote Speakers at the conference?
Therese Ydremark, PhD student at Ersta Sköndal University College